Jozi’s rickety sheets of metal

2011-09-02 12:06

A visit to the Joburg CBD will take you to one of the busiest and biggest taxi ranks in the country.
And it’s also probably one of the dullest and most boring ranks you’ll come across, as a sea of white, beige, red and pale-blue sheets of metal bask in the sun waiting to load passengers.

Most taxis here display some burn marks, have been involved in a crash or are severely damaged. And sadly, that’s how I know taxis on Joburg roads. I would rather walk or catch a bus than have to get into one here.

I see it daily: absurd driving styles with no consideration for passengers or other motorists on the road; bent chassis causing taxis to look as though they’re driving sideways is no surprise either.

Missing lights and hanging doors abound. Sheets of plastic often make up for missing windows. And their interiors are usually as tattered as the outside.

But just because the culture of sound systems and style is non-existent in Joburg, that doesn’t mean all taxis and their drivers and owners need to fall in the bad crate category.

Well, that’s if I look at the number of spare parts that are bought at a Toyota supplier in the CBD. The place is packed six days a week with taxi-owners coming to buy parts.

Then there those owners with a sense of humour, who try to put clever sticker phrases on the vehicles. Such as one taxi in Alexandra with the phrase “Go Surround Come Surround” – a play on “what goes around, comes around”.

I chatted to a few taxi drivers here, and the general consensus is that they’re just the drivers.
Sound and even the condition of the taxi aren’t important to them because they don’t own the vehicles.

This explains why no one seems to care about the state they’re in.

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