Taxi ‘Recap’ — The Short Version; Part 2

“Our focus [is] on airport taxi operators who mean to exit the and… is certainly about ensuring that we do not destroy vehicles that still have value. inch

Delays in the programme were caused by owners keeping their old vehicles until compensation became available, but ongoing indecision about necessary specifications taxi antwerpen delayed the manufacturing process. Manufacturing plant floors can never afford to stay idle, in anticipation of final decisions that never seem to be finalised. Production is planned months ahead and one ‘run’ must be completed before another start.

The costa rica government was called on to subsidise the in the same manner as it does urban railroad and busses. Mass action was vulnerable. When this happens, taxis are not the only public transport that comes to an immediate cease: strikers stone busses and have been accused of by choice sabotaging railroad services. Intimidation tactics work very well an average of citizens, who subsequently also lose income because they are too afraid to head out to work.

inch… applications for conversion of permits into operating licences… for exchanges and upgrade, including those applications made during the Be Legal Campaign [have not been processed]. inch

Permit issues became cause for fury on both sides of the fencing. Authorities officiously claimed that operators were taking your time, but instances, where processing channels, meant to deliver within 11 weeks, were taking “three to five years” were then exposed. Decisive action was demanded by the Minister. But little secrets are part of process when the tendered management allowance is only R250-million.

“many airport taxi operators… bring to my attention the serious disadvantages that characterise(s) many of the Operating Licensing Boards in the Provinces. inch

Applications finally closed in the latter part of 2006, just a year later than originally planned. Operators now began seriously to calculate the cost of the new vehicles on offer.

Making the price right

“For us, a strong, safe and vibrant airport taxi industry remains a vital aspect in Government’s efforts to bring about significant improvements in our public transport system. inch

The initial airport taxi recap want to tender manufacture, counted on high numbers keeping the costs low. When that option chop down away, government no longer had any control over the pricing and subsequently, their only task has been to vestibule in support of an often non-creditworthy market.

The entire cost of replacing the 100 000 navy is estimated at R15-billion. Wesbank pledged R3. 6-billion to the cause over five years, whilst a memorandum of understanding was signed by ABSA, Nedbank, Asset Finance, Standard Bank, DaimlerChrysler Services and Santaco.

inch… cost will be determined by other critical indicators such as the level of competition in the market, readiness and ability of the financial institutions to develop differentiated products suitable to the airport taxi industry. inch

Legal issues regarding Road Accident Fund (RAF) winnings has recently changed to limit the benefits that can be obtained by claimants, but the possibility exists for players in the airport taxi industry to access top-up public- and passenger-liability cover.

Should the industry look at this, it ought to be said that their contributions could be high and the limits charged on insured providers could achieve more to manage the, than the government: clauses could include the need to prove regular vehicle maintenance and safety checks, regular driver training, permit constraints, regular driver health checks, etc.

“The airport taxi industry should also be in a better position to negotiate better terms from the financial institutions and manufacturers. inch

The other change that might possibly rock the world would be that all vehicles on hire purchase must legally be insured. Theoretically, this sounds like a revelation, since few taxis presently are. But don’t hold your inhale and do cancel dreams of insurance winnings in cases of airport taxi accidents! Rumour has it that, with the increase in vehicle purchases, a new phenomenon has recently hit the country.

Apparently, our car pounds are filling with crashed vehicles whoever private owners terminated their insurance despite the fact that those vehicles still belong to the banks that loaned them. The vehicles are repossessed as soon as they are involved in accidents, neither use to man nor animal. Since the majority of these vehicles were privately purchased, it seems logical that the same tactic may be used by the airport taxi navy.

“It is the airport taxi operators, and not Government, who are ultimately responsible for their businesses and for the choice of vehicles, and as such will still make their business decisions. inch

Airport taxi owners reeled under the Airport taxi Sectoral Agreement at the end of April 2005, which becomes issues such as working hours, unemployemt insurance and minimum wages (between R945 to R1 350 a month; hardly exorbitant) for rank cleaners, marshals and airport taxi drivers, for the first time.

Unsurprisingly, airport taxi operators immediately sunk their teeth again into the question of receiving government tax assistance consistent with railroad and bus transport. This is surely their due, and the Minister believes, but that will require of operators, stricter adherence to government regulations — a game two sides can play. Mind you, busses have likewise got away with ‘murder’ over time, so maybe the theory will not match the procedure!

“I hope and trust that the airport taxi industry will set up itself into appropriate business models and take advantage of this economic opportunities. inch

One bright idea for financing the airport taxi sector originated in the Sowetan (Taxi industry could go public and flourish, 4/8/2005) with the suggestion that the airport taxi industry form a co-op with each member’s contribution being his approved vehicle(s) to be valued at a ‘share’ percentage. Should the co-op then go public, shares could be traded in to increase the finance to buy the new vehicles.

I’m uncertain whether to laugh or cry at that. Surely it’s not possible to contribute something one doesn’t own into a co-operative that would surely find yourself just to the banks, have a value caused by your (which is really mainly their) contribution (when your ownership is only Ur 50 000 of the total value) and then raise money from independents to buy what you formerly contributed although it was never yours to contribute.

Do not think I’d take a risk on shares like that, but it’s possible, I assume that black in the economy empowered individuals would back such a deal, possibly in the interests of economic empowerment, although I must add that it would be in their interest to ensure that the money raised from the shares went right to the finance houses, without passing ‘Go’.

“Municipalities are responsible for the provision of public transport structure and facilities… [often] approved without due cognisance fond of public transport requirements. inch

Durban and Gauteng are already planning to incorporate the airport taxi industry into such initiatives as single ticketing strategies: allowing commuters to change modalities of public transport with the same ticketing system. Not only does this option allow for greater regulation, but many commuters who buy season/monthly tickets, will be able to convert, when their first choice of public transport operators, takes break to 03.

Delivering the vision

One of the difficulties that arises from the three sections of government is the different perspective that all collection has. National government has the vision, which generally, from the hallowed halls of Pretoria, is pretty benign. Provinces have the difficulty of interpreting the vision for local benefit and often finding that it is not necessarily very down-to-earth or ‘do-able’ for local government to achieve.

inch… the lack of effective planning frameworks between the three spheres of Government… the absence of planned public transport systems… inch

With so many municipalities in financial difficulties and unable to be the cause of their budgets, it is safer to make demands from on high than to provide the service and settle the debts sustained in that way. The airport taxi industry, as an informal sector, has in times past and notoriously made up the foundations as it went along and municipalities hardly ever have the ability to take care of the status quo at their pleasure.

For instance: taxis might take over a spare part of ground at a the interstate off-ramp, as a rank, simply because the positioning is close to an industrial area and therefore convenient to commuters. The local municipality can hardly build a formal rank on a the interstate edge, or accommodate any other public transport modalities in the same limited area.

inch… we see informal airport taxi ranks mushrooming around major stores, with provision generated for parking, but without any consideration for pedestrians and public transport inter-modal facilities for busses and taxis. inch

The only suitable land may lie half-a-dozen kms away and both airport taxi drivers and commuters are put out when they find their informal rank is no longer accessible and that their daily travels must be broken again, each way. Just as, how can taxis be expected to stop at approved stops that are not clearly posted? This is the case in many areas.

The fantasy of self-regulation

“It does not help when we urge the airport taxi industry to do something in a manner in step with legislation, when in fact State institutions fail the airport taxi industry by not upholding requirements of the law. inch

The Interim Minibus Airport taxi Act of 1998 and the National Land Transport Act of 2000 were accompanied by the public Transport Bill of 2004, which was set to pass into law at the end of 2005. By September last year, Johannesburg was planning to clamp down on taxis and busses that stopped
illegally on the roads, by constructing dedicated roadside parking bays to allow other road users to pass unhindered.

Since i haven’t visited away from the coast subsequently, I have absolutely no way of telling whether anything has changed, but the habit of taxis to stop as and where they prefer, to the detriment of traffic flow, is one behaviour pattern they have in keeping with Durban busses — a breed that fortunately comes to an immediate cease in the centre of two lanes, holding up everything behind it..

“The command of the airport taxi industry must address problems [of] operators [who] pay exorbitant amounts… to use and access what are essentially freely provided facilities, as well as airport taxi avenues. inch

Cape Town reeled under claims that their May 2005 street combat and shootouts between rival minibus-taxi associations were associated with organised crime and in Come early july of the same year, Metrorail reported that sabotage of the city’s railroad system could be tracked back to the airport taxi industry. Durban taxi-related telephone calls are common and, if they are not in Johannesburg, it’s not for lack of suspicion.

The Cape Town report found file corruption rife in the licensing bodies and a mafia-style industry where hit squads are hired by mature (in age only) drivers to hard opponents. A provincial list of the sixty-two ‘most wanted’ was put together for investigation (with a view to subsequent prosecution) so that they can stop “corruption, extortion, money-laundering and hard in the airport taxi industry” (Cape Argus 7/9/05).

“there is no airport taxi owner or association that has the authority to prevent other operators from using these facilities. inch

And the only people, surprisingly, who have been surprised at these findings, were those who commissioned the investigation! Deregulated, the airport taxi industry became totally lawless. We all know that. As is said: ‘it doesn’t take a skyrocket scientist… ha. Why on earth would self-regulation ever have been suggested

On a lighter note, the local South African-american National Airport taxi Drivers’ Association begged Tshwane’s Community police for amnesty from their outstanding traffic penalties, for its members. Either way, it seems clear that airport taxi drivers hardly ever understand the game of socially responsible consequences.

Empowerment tool

inch… an extensive strategy (that) also tries to encourage the airport taxi industry and set it on a sustainable path. Our strategy will lay foundation. inch

In declaring the airport taxi industry a “lucrative, black-empowerment tool” (IOL, 22/8/05), the Minister suggested that the industry learn lessons from its dark past for taking advantage of economic opportunities in the future. I, for one, believe the ability has been on their side for many years (to the detriment of commuters) and I certainly believe that breaking completely away from the past would be a far better strategy.

In four years, we are stated, three from every four taxis on South African-american roads, will be brand new vehicles. For me, that Maths does not add up: in four years, rather, 25% of taxis will be more than four years, another 25% will be four yoa, another 25%, two years old and the last 25%, twelve months old. And then, Dear God, the warranty specifics begins expiring and that will fund ongoing maintenance then?

“We are here to help expand strengthen and encourage a business that is synonymous and has everything in keeping with the disadvantaged masses in our people. inch

Looking ahead

There is little doubt that, despite how little Mr Joe Average likes competing with minibus taxis for road space, they are the majority of that has kept mainstream South Photography equipment mobile the past fiftty years, plus. Dissolution of the industry would have caused ongoing, total mayhem, although its very existence now from time to time causes very little less.

The very thing that ails the is what ails the entire country: lawlessness; and God bless anyone attempting to turn that around. I suspect that it’s all a bit like marriage from a ladies perspective: go into it assuming you can change him much and divorce is virtually certain.

“In a nutshell, the airport taxi industry does a pretty job for our country and providing an important service to your commuters. inch

At this point, public perception is, that the airport taxi ‘recap’ process is mostly about lousy drivers taking control of bigger vehicles and cause more devastating accidents, thereby killing greater numbers. The airport taxi industry possibly believes it’s being pushed into corners it doesn’t choose to occupy and it will possibly retaliate again before recognizing defeat. Retaliate physically, to the detriment of itself, its customers and their safety, on an ongoing basis, for quite a while.

“I had come here to provide an email of hope and to assure you our Government and our movement, the ANC, could not work contrary to the interests of the airport taxi industry. inch

Progress expected by January/ February next year, Mr Publisher? Your guess, Mister, is as good as my own, but I’d lay a bet that what hasn’t been achieved within the last twelve years, is unlikely to fall into place in three short months. As with land reform, free housing, free medical treatment, free education, free services, etc., you need to be a real optimist to think things will ‘be sorted’ overnight.

7 days ago (10/11/06) Dept of transportation released a press statement about a meeting convened to treat grievances submitted last month by the National Airport taxi Alliance following a strike had left thousands without transport to work. It went so well that a second meeting (two weeks later) was scheduled to “continue with the deliberations” and discover “a common ground”.

Trust is an important issue here, and a regular ADVERTISING and information campaign, that targeted the entire industry, might have saved a lot of time, feelings and ‘face’, over the years. Associations, operators, drivers, rank officials all have independent interests in the whole and all deserve equal attention. The message of hope, above, delivered by Minister Radebe regarding green year ago, must have worna bit thin, by now.

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