Streamline taxi practices before soccer tourists arrive

A reader has called in to complain about having to change taxis in the middle of a route.

A reader has called in to complain about having to change taxis in the middle of a route.

It is surprising that he has done so since the practice is common on some routes, but no one else has taken the trouble to complain.

The route in question is the Germiston to Benoni route. I have used this route for many years and have obediently changed taxis at the side of the road without question.

I was told by other customers long ago that this practice was the result of a truce after a bitter taxi war. The warring associations agreed to a one way journey to the enemy's rank. The taxi then goes back to its own rank without picking up customers. The truce has held for a number of years without any disagreements or bloodshed.

Apart from the fact that it is a waste of money and petrol, it is also an irksome exercise for commuters.

What happens is that halfway through the journey the drivers change their loads and head back home without completing the journey.

One wonders why, if drivers can quietly solve their petrol wastage in this way, taxi associations do not work out a new peace agreement.

I have heard passengers grumble because they are forced to gather their parcels and take another taxi since the new one might not be as swish and well-kept as the one turning back.

The youngsters complain when they discover that the second taxi has no music or that the driver does not play house music.

You can tell who is a stranger to the East Rand when an uncomprehending passenger refuses to get out to ride in the other taxi. The locals simply comply without uttering a word.

On one journey a young man who had been defiantly drinking liquor against the driver's and passengers' wishes, refused to get off. He said he had paid the driver to take him to Benoni and was not getting off.

The driver simply drove with the drinker still in the back seat, proclaiming his human rights. We were grateful to leave him behind.

I still wonder what happenedwhen he found himself back in Germiston.

I think the transport department must look at some of these practices before the 2010 World Cup. I can imagine poor tourists not getting off and ending up back where they started instead of at the stadium to watch a match.

The department must try and streamline taxi routes before football tourists arrive. Otherwise we will have a black mark against our reputation as a great destination.

Local customs might be cute but they are definitely not so funny when you are battling to reach a stadium.