Taxi meetings over huge hikes have started

Santaco has started talks with the two taxi associations that have raised taxi fares
Santaco has started talks with the two taxi associations that have raised taxi fares
Image: SUNDAY TIMES / ERIC MALEMA

Santaco Gauteng has started meetings with the two taxi associations which raised their fares by more than 100% to find a solution on behalf of commuters.

Spokesperson of the South African National Taxi Council in Gauteng Midday Mali told Sowetan a meeting was held with Alexandra Taxi Association (ATA) and Alexandra-Randburg-Midrand-Sandton Taxi Association (Armsta) on Tuesday and consultation will continued again on Thursday.

“We had a meeting with the two associations. We spoke to them about their decision to raise their fares. We are going to continue consulting them and on Friday we will have a media briefing at the Alexandra taxi rank to announce the outcome,” Mali said.

At the weekend ATA and Armsta raised their fares across the board to R30. To paint a clear picture what does this mean, here's one example: a taxi ride from Alexandra to Sandton nearby cost R11 before the increase. This hike, therefore, translates to more than 170%. The increase in percentage for travelling from Alexandra and Johannesburg inner city is at 130.7%. The new fares are expected to start on June 15.

The increase announcement was also not well received by both government and commuters. Gauteng transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo said he was disappointed with the decision and scheduled a meeting with the associations today.But things got worse when other taxi associations in Gauteng indicated that they would be also raising their fares on June 15, due to the losses they had incurred during the national lockdown.

Santaco Greater Johannesburg said that 76 other taxi associations affiliated to Santaco and Top Six will also be hiking their fares on June 15. Mashishi Mashishi, deputy chairperson of Santaco Greater Johannesburg region, explained the rationale for the associations to raise their fares.

"We've got 76 taxi associations both from Top Six Taxi Management and Santaco Greater Johannesburg region [raising their fares]. From Santaco Greater Johannesburg we have 61 and Top Six we've got 15. We've all agreed that our associations on the ground must not suffer because of this lockdown. They have suffered and it is enough. It is more than 70 days, there is no relief funds. We've been promised relief funds from the first day of the lockdown,” Mashishi said.

Mamabolo is currently in the meeting with ATA and Armsta to find a solution to the issue. He said commuters cannot carry the financial losses that the taxi industry has suffered during the lockdown.

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