Commuters protest taxi fares

2019-08-02 15:00
Community members in Ladysmith and surrounding areas took to the streets yesterday to protest against annual increases in taxi fares. PHOTO: CLAUDINE SENEKAL / LADYSMITH HERALD

Community members in Ladysmith and surrounding areas took to the streets yesterday to protest against annual increases in taxi fares. PHOTO: CLAUDINE SENEKAL / LADYSMITH HERALD

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Commuters in Pietermaritzburg and Ladysmith took to the streets to protest against the annual increase in taxi fares of between R1 and R2 on Thursday.

In Grange, protesters blockaded Visagie Road opposite The Grange Primary School on Wednesday night and Thursday morning as they said they had not been consulted about the increase.

The Grange Primary School had to close early due to the protest, which continued for most of the morning.

One resident said the association also offered a poor service. “We wait for hours to be fetched from our stops to be taken to town and sometimes we are late for work,” he said.

He added that the association usually consulted with them when the fare was going to be increased.

“The association has often sat down with us to negotiate, but this time we just saw the notice in their taxis,” he added.

Bheki Sokhela, uMgungundlovu taxi council chair, said the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) had resolved to hike fares once a year, on August 1, for the 246 associations in the province.

“The taxi fare does not randomly increase; hence the recent petrol hike does not influence this announcement. We only increase the fare once a year.”

Sokhela said he was aware of the Grange protest action but denied that it was fuelled by the increases.

The increase in Pietermaritzburg is between R1 and R2.

Sokhela said Santaco regretted the impact of these increases on commuters, especially the poor, but added that without the fare hikes many taxi operators would struggle to stay in business.

Claudine Senekal of the Ladysmith Herald reported that in Ladysmith, residents also protested against the increase and motorists had to use alternative routes to get to work and school.

The Klipriver Taxi Association said in a statement the association and community had decided on the increase. “The association had put forward an increase of 25% but after engaging with the community, we decided on 12,5%.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  taxi fare increase
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