Change for taxi sector

2017-03-17 09:45
Taxi council launched training academy to improve service in KZN.

Taxi council launched training academy to improve service in KZN. (File)

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The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) in KZN is taking steps to change the face of the taxi industry.

As part of this effort, a training academy was launched recently aimed at equipping taxi drivers, operators, rank managers, marshalls and secretaries with skills that will give the industry a facelift.

In the near future it is hoped the certificate acquired from this training will become a prerequisite for the issuing of and renewal of Professional Driving Permits (PrDP) for drivers and operating permits for taxi bosses.

According to the taxi regulatory body, they have lobbied the government to enact this into law as they believe it will be an effective tool to regulate the industry.

Santaco has already started formal training of drivers and taxi operators in the province with a focus on customer care, human resources, business finance, advanced driving skills and first aid.

The training aims to address unruly behaviour by taxi drivers and other issues within the industry such as conflict and bad customer service.

By the end of this month, Santaco plans to train 1 600 taxi drivers and 1 600 operators in KZN.

Santaco KZN’s provincial training officer, Jeffrey Ngobese, believes that the training will be a game changer for the industry, which has gained a reputation as “chaotic”.

“Our business should focus on making our commuters happy. We don’t want to hear of incidents where drivers shout at and disrespect commuters.

“We have prioritised this training to swiftly address things like customer care, road safety, and conflict within the taxi business,” said Ngobese.

He added that drivers and operators will be required to produce their training certificates when renewing or applying for permits.

“After this training, drivers will be expected to sign the code of conduct form, which will bind them to do things according to Santaco’s rules and regulations,” he said.

Ngobese said Santaco is also looking at the issue of inexperienced young drivers in the industry and debating whether there would be an age restriction on drivers at entry level.

This is because inexperienced drivers are viewed as possibly contributing to road carnage as they are more likely to speed.

Another objective of the taxi industry is to become one of the major business contributors to the country’s economy.

“We are working with municipalities to clean up our taxi ranks, they are going to change.

“We want them to be clean, attractive and safe …

“Passengers should be comfortable. We would not want to hear or see people holding big guns in the taxi ranks, scaring our commuters,” he said.

Ngobese added that the vision they have is for taxi ranks to be comparable to airports. “We want to modernise them.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  santaco

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