South Africa

Taxi lawlessness drives South Africans away

There is a rapid rise in South Africans not using taxi services because of the deteriorating service levels and related problems.

The taxi industry took centre stage earlier this month after Cape Town cracked down on their widespread misbehaviour and lawlessness on the roads.

Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said the city had issued numerous fines to taxi drivers disobeying the law.

However, taxi drivers do not pay their fines, and it does not impact their driving behaviour. This means roads are more dangerous for passengers and other road users.

According to Section 87 of the National Land Transport Act, the city may impound taxis for operating in contradiction to their licensing conditions.

The city has implemented this strict tool at its disposal to force behavioural changes within the taxi industry.

This has sparked outrage within the taxi industry and caused violent strikes by taxi organisations, leading to the murder of 5 people.

The strike ended after the local Cape Town government made it clear that it would not be swayed by violence.

Cape Town said it would continue to impound all taxis without driver and vehicle licenses, driving in areas without commuter permits, or if they aren’t roadworthy.

Geordin Hill-Lewis
Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis

Poor service levels drive customers away

Problems in the taxi industry are not unique to Cape Town. Most South African road users face similar lawlessness and misbehaviour.

A transport survey done in 2020 indicated that the main reason why people do not use minibus taxis is related to the service attributes of the taxi industry.

Many previous taxi users have turned to other forms of transport due to the problems associated with taking a taxi.

33.9% of surveyed non-taxi users in South Africa stated that taxi service attributes are the main reason why they no longer travel in taxis. This is a significant increase from the 18.1% recorded in 2013.

The Western Cape had the highest percentage of people saying they stopped using taxis because of the poor service levels.

Every province experienced an increase in the percentage of non-taxi users citing taxi service attributes as the main reason for not using the service.

Dangerous driving, lawless acts, and roadworthiness all contribute to the deterioration in the service level experienced by commuters.

The data corresponds with the unhappiness witnessed in Cape Town toward the taxi industry.

People  not using taxis due to poor service levels
Western Cape22%40%
Eastern Cape14%33%
Northern Cape14%21%
Free State17%32%
North-West Province15%23%


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