The World Cup and a R5.8m deal has produced a seize fire in the longstanding battle between the City of Cape Town and the taxi industry caused by the taxi industry’s opposition to the implementation of the city’s Integrated Rapid Transport system.
The waters have been smoothed by an agreement proposed by the city to supplement additional taxi transport in and around the City during the World Cup.
But while taxi organizations have agreed to the deal, they say the R5.8m offer is not enough and they have only agreed because they have commuters to serve and because they have a love for the country”.
“There has to be a compromise sometimes when we negotiate,” said Mvuyasi Mente, spokesperson for the Western Cape Provincial Taxi Alliance.
Mente said the Western Cape Provincial Taxi Alliance is to serve eight regions in the Cape Town Metropole, with each region being served by 135 taxis.
These taxis would shuttle commuters to and from city Fan Jols, offer a ‘last mile home’ service from the park-and-ride facilities and railway stations, run as a shuttle service from the Century City park-and-ride the new Century City railway station, and offer late-night transport for City City of Cape Town 2010 Fifa World Cup volunteers to their homes.
He said there was an agreed amount to be paid for each vehicle, with maximum fares set for each service.”
Chair of the Taxi Alliance, Vernon Billet, said South Africa was going to celebrate a “great party and we are not going to spoil it”.
City’s Transport Roads and Major Projects executive director Mike Marsden said in a statement that the City had entered into an “important service level agreement” with the Western Cape Taxi Council for the provision of additional minibus-taxi transport services in and around Cape Town during the Fifa World Cup.
This would complement existing transport services being offered by Metrorail and the recently introduced MyCiTi airport and inner city bus service, said Marsden.
“The City will pay a set rate per participating vehicle for this guaranteed availability, on the assumption that the minibus-taxis will still charge their late night fares where passengers make use of their services. Participating minibus-taxis will be identified by a sticker reading WCPTC 2010 service,” he said, adding that the agreement specified the number of vehicles required on the different routes and match days, and also stipulated a maximum fare that can be charged by the taxi operator.
Mayoral Committee member for Transport, Roads and Major Projects, Elizabeth Thompson, said the agreement was significant as it showed a commitment by “ourselves and the industry” to put Cape Town and the commuters first.
“Both sides believe it is in the best interest of our beautiful city to work together and deliver the best World Cup ever.”
Marsden said the maximum fares agreed were: CBD to other areas in Cape Town – R30; Fan Jols – R17; last mile home services – R10; and Century City shuttle – free on presentation of match tickets for the relevant day, with taxis departing every 15 minutes.
“The minibus-taxi industry will guarantee that these vehicles will be waiting to transport passengers during the specified hours, whether any passengers arrive or not. This is to ensure that the citizens of Cape Town can rest assured that they will not be stranded at these locations in the middle of the night,” he said.
City Media manager Kylie Hatton said commuters wanting to get a detailed transport timetable could could call the transport information centre on 081 00 65 64 63, a number that was also flashed on new highway signboards.