DURBAN TAXI OPERATION COMES TO A HALT
By: Elizabeth Kunene
The Durban CBD came to a halt over night when taxi drivers blockaded major roads with their Toyota Quantum’s on Wednesday following their dispute with the automobile company over its cost of these vehicles.
According to the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO), costs of the Toyota Quantum has escalated drastically since it was introduced in the country 10 years ago. When this vehicle was introduced it was R220 000 at the imported price but it is now R450 000 since beig locally produced, an amount that the taxi industry says is far too expensive.
According to a letter released by Umbumbulu Taxi Association, all taxi’s in Durban were to stop operating throughout the day and only start working only in the afternoon around 15:00pm.
“The taxis were supposed to stop working on the 30th at exactly 00:00. No taxi was to take any passengers and no passengers were to be in a taxi,” said Scelo Mthembu, a Phoenix taxi driver.
Affected areas included routes to and from Umlazi, the N2, and Isipingo areas causing major traffic jams and inconvenience to commuters.
Motorists also found it difficult to get to their destination as others opted to use alternative routes to get to their destinations. Others who could not manouvre through the blecked roads ended up ot going to work.
Many commuters were frustrated and stranded for hours before the taxis finally started operating again. Passengers wasted no time taking to social media their frustrations blaming taxi owners and associations for blocking roads and causing havoc.
“So since taxi drivers are on strike over interest rate and how high it is, does it also mean as commuters we can strike over the high taxi fair or they will just turn that into a blood bath?” questioned Mbulelo Mkize, a taxi commuter.
According to East Coast Radio, a representative from the car manufacture received the demands of the Durban Taxi Association and has promised to go through the memorandum for further engagement.