News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday September 15th 2019

Taxi industry say they’re in the dark over imminent IRT rollout

A policeman takes cover behind a food stall as a taxi burns at the Du Noon taxi rank. Photo: Peter Luhanga/WCN

A scene from 2008 protests against a new bus system. WCN file picture.

While the City’s Integrated Rapid Tansit (IRT) system is expected to start operating along the R27 trunk route to Blaauwberg at the end of February, the taxi industry in the city’s northern district says they still don’t how what their role is to be.Three years ago plans to introduce the Bus Rapid Rapid Transit (BRT) system sparked outrage and violent protests by taxi bosses.

The city’s efforts to get the taxi industry to the negotiating table were met with walk outs and insults.

Now with about two months left before the busses start rolling, there appears to be confusion over the City’s plans to include the taxi industry in the initiative.

Mvuyasi Mente, spokesperson for the Western Cape Provincial Taxi Council said the city still needed to explain how the IRT, as claimed, would benefit them rather than simply taking away their customers.

“We need the city to say how they will empower the taxi industry. The city is quiet regarding the rolling out of the buses,” said Mente.

Du Noon Taxi Association (DTA), the main provider of public transport along the R27 to Blaauwberg, said negotiations were stalled.

“We only started negotiations after the World Cup. Up to now we don’t know what’s going on. We still need the city to explain how this thing is going to work,” said DTA chairman Sango Mkoko.

City media manager Kylie Hatton confirmed that the construction of dedicated bus lanes along the R27 was complete and buses were expected to start operating between February and March.

But Hatton was quick to say that the “big” thing the city was involved in at this stage were negotiations with the taxi and bus industry in the area in order to form a company to operate the buses.

“That’s the major thing we need to finalize before we launch the service. We’re working towards launching towards February and March. Want to launch the route with the transport operators already working in the system. Want them to benefit from the opportunities provided by the system,” said Hatton.

She said negotiations with the taxi and bus industries had been ongoing for “two and half years”.

She said taxi owners who wanted to quit the transport business would be compensated by the city in cash.

“The idea is that nobody is worse off as a result of the introduction of the IRT…everyone will be treated fairly,” she said.

She said taxi owners who wanted to remain in the transport business would bring their representation of market share into the new operating company.

The full roll out of Phase 1A, of which the Cape Town to Blaauwberg route is only part, will cost tax payers R4.6 billion. The complete Phase 1A will run to Atlantis, Houtbay, Century City and Ysterplaat. — Peter Luhanga, West Cape News

Tags: atlantis, blaauwberg, brt, cape town, DA, Du Noon, irt, Transport, World Cup

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