Taxi owners concede to smaller fare increase following protests

2018-07-24 06:00
Commuters took to the street to protest the fare increase.PHOTO: phindile shozi

Commuters took to the street to protest the fare increase.PHOTO: phindile shozi

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FOLLOWING the protest by commuters of Embo last Thursday, the Embo Taxi Association has made the decision to decrease the taxi fare to avoid further turmoil with the community.

The owners initially increased their fares by R 2, instead of the expected R 1 yearly increment, due to the escalating petrol price. Owners claimed that they were not seeing any profit and, with all the increases imposed by government, it was hard to make ends meet.

The increase saw some commuters outraged, with many taking to the streets to burn tyres in protest. The protestors said that a R 2 increase was unaffordable as they had prepared themselves for the yearly rand increment but did not expect it to be double that.

Speaking to the Fever after negotiations, taxi owners said that the commuters did not want to reason with them and they were forced to drop their fares by R 1.

A taxi owner who was allegedly beaten on the day of the increase, who refused to be named due to safety concerns, said that it was difficult for them to make ends meet as prices are increasing constantly and they also need to earn a living.

“It hurts because they don’t see things from our perspective and how this is affecting our business,” he said.

He said that the residents didn’t protest when the VAT increased, and everything went up, but when they increased taxi fare they thought they were treated unfairly.

“What about us, the people who are in the transport business?” he said. “Who will compensate us for our losses? We decreased the taxi fare to R 1 and there’s nothing we can do more about it,” he ended.

Another taxi driver in Embo, Siyabonga Ngwelezane, said that as much as the taxi owners gave into the demands of the commuters it will affect the drivers’ because their wages will not increase this year.

He said that everything has a ripple effect: “This is bad for us too because everything else besides our wages has increased.

“I also have a family to take care of, and I work long hours, yet the residents don’t want to reason with us,” he said.

Commuter Msizi Mkhatshwa, from Embo, said that he is happy that the fare was decreased, saying: “R 2 was too much and I’m glad that they saw things from our perspective and reduced it.”

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