Taxis enrage city drivers

2008-03-24 00:00

Residents travelling from the northern areas of the city are becoming enraged by taxi drivers who apparently regularly run cars off the road in their quest to get ahead of the pack in heavily congested streets.

Motorists have complained bitterly that these taxi drivers, often in convoys of about five or six, overtake the queue of traffic by driving in the oncoming lane. Their actions result in motorists travelling in the opposite direction being pushed off the road in order to let the taxis pass.

Motorists who use Samana, Plymouth, Raisethorpe, Allandale, Manchester and Northdale roads into town have said that they feel unsafe.

They have asked traffic police to control the roads in the mornings so that the taxi drivers behave, but are also concerned that when traffic police do monitor these parts, taxi drivers behave, only until they are out of sight.

Msunduzi traffic and security spokesman Lalloo Parbhoo said the problem with taxis is not only experienced in the northern areas and is a problem throughout the city. He said that due to limited resources, they cannot designate traffic officers to police taxi drivers.

He said 15 arrests were made on Manchester, Bhambatha and New Greytown roads last week, some of which included the arrests of taxi drivers driving illegally.

One motorist, who wanted to remain unnamed as his family is well known in the area and he fears victimisation, suggested that cameras be installed along these roads so that the drivers can be monitored, and, if driving illegally, can be dealt with accordingly at a later time.

When The Witness called the head of the Northern Suburbs Taxi Association, Nazeer Khan, for an interview, he was on his way to Mountain Rise Police Station to collect taxi drivers who had been arrested last week for “rat-racing” — a term used to describe the wild attempts of drivers to get ahead by weaving in and out of traffic.

“I am not going to condone the drivers’ behaviour because what they do is wrong,” he said.

However, he blamed the municipality for not delivering on their promise to build an alternative route. “When I ask my taxi drivers why they do these things, they tell me that they are frustrated. Council promised in their manifesto to build new roads …” he said.

ANC councillor Mergan Chetty said: “We sympathise with the public for the delays. As council, we are looking at alternative routes to try and alleviate the congestion … We understand that it is time-consuming, but it doesn’t give anyone the right to break the law.”

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