Cape Town taxi safety project records 5 000 speeding, 12 000 harsh driving incidents among 700 taxis

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Each of the more than 700 minibus taxis in the Blue Dot Taxi Pilot Project recorded, on average, 26 daily speeding and harsh driving incidents.
Each of the more than 700 minibus taxis in the Blue Dot Taxi Pilot Project recorded, on average, 26 daily speeding and harsh driving incidents.
  • More than 5 000 speeding incidents were recorded among 700 Blue Dot taxis.
  • The pilot project aims to improve taxi safety by tracking driving behaviour.
  • Nearly 120 Covid-19 compliance complaints were received in six weeks.

Each of the more than 700 minibus taxis participating in the Blue Dot Taxi Pilot Project in the Western Cape recorded, on average, 26 daily speeding and harsh driving incidents.

The data was collected during June to build up a baseline of driver behaviour. The project, run by the Western Cape Transport Department, rewards taxi drivers for improved driving and service with incentive payments. Launched on 15 May, the project will run for nine months.

Western Cape Transport MEC Daylin Mitchell said:

We use this information to identify areas where participating taxis are performing well and where there is room for improvement, such as speeding, dangerous driving practices, overloading, poor customer service and poor adherence to Covid-19 safety requirements. We are also working hard to support participants to improve their driving behaviour through ongoing engagement and training.

The tracking units detected 5 000 speeding incidents among participating taxis, about half of which were serious, said Mitchell.

An average of 12 000 harsh driving (braking, acceleration, cornering) incidents per day were also detected in June.

"Real change takes time, and the Blue Dot project is designed to gradually improve behaviour," he said.

Dangerous driving, unsafe lane changes

"These figures provide a crucial baseline against which we can measure improvement. Through a combination of the financial incentives during the pilot, regular communication with participants and ongoing training and capacity building, we aim to improve performance over time."

The programme also allows for user feedback so that passengers and other road users can rate drivers.

Between 15 May and 31 July 2021, the department received nearly 13 700 user ratings – 7 700 from passengers and 6 000 from other road users.

More than half of these rated the service as very bad to bad, said Mitchell. The top three issues identified were dangerous driving, unsafe lane changes and unsafe stopping.

ALSO READ | Driver of taxi involved in crash outside Parliament allegedly on road illegally

Of the more than 2 600 written comments received, 118 related to serious issues such as no mask-wearing, smoking in taxis, driving under the influence, harassment, assault and theft.

"Of course, when we receive feedback on serious incidents such as these, we take immediate action and, if the allegations are found to have merit, the relevant taxi will be removed from the project," said Mitchell.

In addition, field monitors were deployed at public transport interchanges across the Cape Town metro to monitor compliance with Covid-19 regulations. That resulted in a 91% compliance with mask-wearing by both drivers and passengers.

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