Young men have bright plan to clean up taxi rank mess

A group of young men who work in the taxi industry paid a visit to outline their vision on what taxi ranks should look like.

A group of young men who work in the taxi industry paid a visit to outline their vision on what taxi ranks should look like.

Taxi ranks are breeding grounds for all sorts of diseases. They are filthy and littered with piles of garbage.

The ranks cater for thousands of commuters whose numbers overwhelm the facilities. The overcrowding during peak hour has to be seen to be believed. And there is no room for expansion.

As a result the ranks overflow into the adjoining streets and pose a danger for pedestrians and shoppers.

The young men from Ekurhuleni have come up with a plan to modernise the rank in Germiston.

They decided to take action because they realised that complaining about the filth and lack of facilities was a waste of energy.

"The rank is filthy, with dirty water flowing in the passenger berths," they said. "The place is dangerous for both drivers and passengers."

They have decided to petition the municipality to provide more land for the rank so that designated areas can be set aside for food courts, rest areas for drivers and waiting rooms for long-distance passengers.

This vision is practical since it will not only improve the aesthetics of the ranks but also raise revenue for the municipality.

An eyesore can be turned into an innovative shopping and lifestyle hub.

At present the recently built taxi ranks have brick and slab nooks that can be rented by food and clothes vendors. Most of them are occupied by cellphone accessories shops and vegetable hawkers.

They are not attractive, have no selling woza woza and are not too clean.

If the ranks were modernised or renovated to look like the Park Station concourse, many passengers would rejoice.

Park Station is now a pleasant place to wait for trains and buses. All the major bus companies have clearly marked counters, with fares and departure and arrival times prominently displayed.

There is ample sitting space with a small food court and bookstores. Most banks have ATMs for passengers to access fares easily. Hawkers have movable stalls outside and there is a sizeable police presence.

The only sticking point is the toilets. There are not enough and only a few work. The taps and basins leak though commuters are expected to pay to use them.

The taxi ranks are also exposed to the sun and rain. Vendors with dirty cardboard boxes sell fly-infested food.

I doubt whether health inspectors bother to check or inspect the food on offer.