Taxi groups must educate these uninitiated commuters

Gauteng is on the move these days. Taxi ranks are clogged with thousands of people waiting for taxis to distant destinations and to new ones as more suburbs and townships spring up.

Gauteng is on the move these days. Taxi ranks are clogged with thousands of people waiting for taxis to distant destinations and to new ones as more suburbs and townships spring up.

The Germiston rank is a crush of people and us workers are at least an hour late getting to work.

Times were when workers queued peacefully in the mornings. But there are new passengers from the buses whose drivers are on strike.

These new commuters were orderly at first but they are gradually introducing a tradition of pushing and shoving as they have not learned the art of patience. They have begun to seriously annoy seasoned commuters.

The taxi associations should hold a rally for commuters where they will be taught queueing manners and all sorts of traditions that have sprung up about using taxis.

Some of the people come with an attitude that drivers and queue marshals are rude. They pre-empt them by being rude first.

A father came on board with two sons who were pre-teens. He was indignant when the driver queried the younger son's age. He had the boy on his lap and it was obvious that the boy was no longer used to sitting on his father's lap.

The father kept on saying "he is my last child and very young". The driver wanted the boy to sit on his own and pay the full fare. The father refused and repeated his mantra that the child was his last-born. He won the battle as the driver was mindful that his regular passengers were late for work.

A mother with numerous packages and two babies was sitting next to me. I was sitting sideways as her parcels and the babies filled up the seat.

She fidgeted and turned and shot out elbows as she tried to make herself and the babies comfortable in the small space.

Her children were looking at me as if I was from outer space. The baby decided that I was harmless and then offered me his wet thumb to suck as a gesture of friendship.

I had to duck sharpish because the friendship was offered aggressively and without the option of a refusal. My brood is all grown up and I have forgotten the baby talk that one must use to communicate with the little people.

I ended up making the universal Mafia gesture with a finger across the throat to get my new suitor to stop pestering me. He took the rejection bitterly and howled for all he was worth.

His mother looked at me suspiciously but I pretended all innocence. I was secretly pleased with myself for making a great discovery: that babies that young understood this universal sign. Or is it that my young suitor has criminal tendencies?

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