Taxi driving should account for itself

I know that people are fedup with the fare issue in taxis.

I did not know that I was opening a Pandora's box when I complained about glamorous ladies who refuse to pass on the fares to the driver.

Several readers called in and told me that this was not the responsibility of the commuters. They said that taxis should have conductors, as in buses, to collect the fares and give change.

I now believe this is right because a lot of people have a very shaky grasp of arithmetic.

The taxi fares went up on July 2 and it has been a hilarious and frustrating two weeks.

The accountants upfront have problems giving change. They either short-change the passengers or give the driver the old fares. Then they are left with a lot of spare change.

Tempers flare up as passengers demand the correct change and call the poor accountants thieves.

The drivers also are not sure how much they should get.

I understand that a taxi driver said during a radio interview that he preferred women to sit in front with him because they are better at counting money.

He said men get it wrong most of the time and also that they have sticky fingers. He said cellphones and money disappear if there are men in the front seat.

I do not know about because since cellphones and purses disappear in the back seats too.

An old lady was taking her granddaughter back to the child's parents on the East Rand. She refused to pay the new fare, arguing that when she fetched her grandchild in June the fare was R1 less.

She said no one had told her about the increase and therefore she was not responsible for the driver's shortfall.

The granny refused to get off and the driver, faced with this obdurate personality, drove meekly to the granny's destination.

They say taxi drivers will kill you for a penny, but I have not seen it happen. But then no one can get around an old woman who stands her ground, right or wrong.

A reader complained that passengers do not upbraid taxi drivers who do not follow the rules of the road. He said many taxi drivers ask their colleagues for change while driving at top speed on Louis Botha Avenue.

They do not reduce speed while they turn their heads and speak to each other.

He said the drivers cut across lanes and then block the road to give change to each other.

The man said they were an accident waiting to happen.

I think that commuters have a duty to safeguard their lives. They should report these drivers to the association to make them stop this behaviour.

Perhaps the commuters are indifferent to the danger because they are the ones who pay their fares with big notes of R50 or R100 for a R5 journey.