News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Friday August 23rd 2019

Taxi bosses and City agree to work together to improve public transport


Western Cape taxi bosses have agreed to cooperate with the City’s move to revolutionise public transport.

The agreement follows a protest by more than 1000 taxi bosses at the civic centre on Friday where taxi bosses complained they were left out of the City’s launch of the Transport for Cape Town (TCP) authority on October 18 and, contrary to the City’s claims, were not consulted on the implementation of the MyCiTi bus service on the Cape Flats.

However, the protest was defused when Mayoral Committee Member for Transport Roads and Stormwater Brett Herron apologised for not widely engaging with the minibus taxi industry.

A joint press conference between the City and taxi bodies today the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) Western Cape branch chair Vernon Billet said they were not opposed to the City’s public transport revolution but were upset that the broader taxi industry had not been consulted.

Billet said Santaco was not opposed to change and welcomed the City’s proposed single ticket system for all public transport in Cape Town.

He said the taxi industry understood that it could implement its own electronic card payment system but it had to be interoperable with the City’s.

He said taxi bosses would like to enter into dialogue with the City on matters related to transport.

“We must speak to one another until we understand where you want to take us (taxi operators) as a City. That is our collective responsibility. We’re not opposed to improving the public transport system. We welcome this, but do it with us,” said Billet.

Herron said the City’s relationship with the taxi bosses had been strained over recent days as the city’s had not consulted widely enough with the taxi industry.

“I would like to state categorically we cannot take public transport to the next level of integration in our City without the taxi industry. The taxi industry is a crucial part for future plans for public transport,” said Herron.

To this end, the City and taxi bosses have agreed that all future information, communication, consultation and negotiations would be elevated to, and coordinated from, the office of the City’s Executive Director of Transport Roads and Stormwater Melissa Whitehead.

Additionally, the Santaco Western Cape branch leadership would be included in all future discussions around Transport for Cape Town, especially work affecting the taxi industry, which included the MyCiTi network. — Peter Luhanga

Tags: Brett Herron, Melissa Whitehead, MyCiti, santaco, South African National Taxi Council, TCP, Transport for Cape Town, Vernon Billet

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