I heart Jozi: Taxi troubles

2011-01-21 08:23

If you were to hear half the stories people tell about taxi rides in Joburg you would think they either had an overworked imagination or were economical with the truth.

On one of the last taxis out of town one night, a man desperate to get home was forced to pushstart the overloaded taxi we were in just to earn his seat – which he ended up paying for anyway.

This didn’t have my jaw hitting the ground as much as the time a taxi driver once asked (and I use this word rather liberally as it was more of a demand) that, as he slides his foot off the brake, I replace it with mine.

Me, with no licence to control a car, let alone a full taxi, now had my leg stretched over to the pedal with the driver reaching over my inner thigh to fix the loose gear lever, all the while counting notes and sending back change I hoped was correct as the old man sitting next to me could not be bothered to offer a helping hand.

And all this was followed by reaching home completely soaked because the broken window that brought much welcome fresh air in the stickiest heat of summer was never fixed by the rainy season.

Or how about stepping out of the taxi in the morning only to find that the steel jutting out from the seat in front of you left a run in your stockings, adding a dash of grunge to the pencil skirt Sunday school teacher look you were going for?

Now as ridiculously funny as this may be, the sad truth is that the taxi industry is about as functional as the SABC.

And like our national broadcaster that never ceases to disappoint, millions of South Africans rely on taxis every day to get to work and school.

I love Joburg but in a city a big as this, getting around cannot possibly be this cruel a joke.

I hear the bus system is much more reliable and I can’t wait to see if the BRT will make a difference ... that’s if it will ever be completed.

Man, it really is time to ruin my carbon footprint by adding yet another car to the 5pm traffic jam.

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