Taxis take Boundary to the limit

2015-07-14 06:00
Taxi drivers using Boundary Road in Retreat are doing so illegally and residents are calling on local traffic authorities to act and deter them from doing so. 

astrid februarie

Taxi drivers using Boundary Road in Retreat are doing so illegally and residents are calling on local traffic authorities to act and deter them from doing so. PHOTO: astrid februarie

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Taxi drivers using Boundary Road in Retreat are doing so illegally and have residents fuming.

They claim that the taxi drivers are aggressive and have on a number of occasions driven people off the road.

A resident who asked to remain anonymous says the taxi drivers speed down the road and have little to no care for other motorists or even pedestrians.

“They are reckless and drive down this road illegally. Although traffic services have conducted a number of traffic stops this has not deterred some drivers from using the road,” he says.

What is more concerning to the resident is when parents drop their children off at the school on the corner of Boundary and Retreat roads.

“Parents need to park, then cross the road with their children because it is so dangerous for them to cross the road on their own. I have seen taxi drivers drive right through a red light,” he says.

He fears the day that a child or a pedestrian gets knocked over.

“Should someone first get seriously hurt before anything is done? Will this stop some of these taxi drivers from being reckless and irresponsible? I hope not,” he says.

Basil Nagel, chairperson of the Retreat Taxi Association, says he is aware of taxi drivers going off route and using Boundary. Road, but none of his drivers are involved.

“I have not received any complaints from residents with regard to taxi drivers who are registered with my organisation,” he says.

Nagel says the Retreat Taxi Association is no different from other taxi associations.

“We must all adhere to the same rules and regulations set out and if found that taxi drivers are going off route law enforcement agencies must fine those drivers. They have the authority to act – there are no excuses, none whatsoever,” he adds.

Ward councillor Kevin Southgate says the residents are currently busy with a petition to highlight their plight.

“As a community they can only do so much. The current situation in which commuters now wait for the taxis along Boundary Road is totally unacceptable,” he says.

Southgate says residents have reported being threatened by taxi drivers when they approach them.

“I have also recently spoken to a representative of the Retreat Taxi Association who assured me that the offending drivers were from ranks that are not supposed to be operating along this route,” he says.

Southgate says this matter is further compounded by a recent complaint regarding taxis operating from Heathfield station, which is not a taxi rank.

“This state of lawlessness needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency in order to prevent taxi associations from confronting each other,” he says

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, says the City has received complaints about taxis going off route and using Boundary Road.

“The most common complaint is that taxis are speeding in the vicinity of Square Hill Primary School and avoiding the traffic calming measures (speed bumps) by driving around them,” he says.

Smith says that the City can confirm that the taxis are not allowed to use Boundary Road.

“We have had at least three operations in this specific area where at least seven taxis were impounded for being off-route,” he says.

Smith says should signs be erected, it would mean that taxi drivers could be fined for disobeying the signs or have their taxis impounded if it is determined that they are off-route. However, enforcement operations are being done in the area.

The City is, however, unware if any accidents involving taxi drivers along Boundary Road.

“Enforcement is being done on an ad hoc basis. Unfortunately, public transport infringements are common all over the city. The City’s traffic service conducts enforcement operations in as many areas as possible. However, given our finite resources, we are not able to be everywhere all of the time,” he says

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