Santaco urges drivers not to overload taxis

South African National Taxi Council's Thabisho Molelekwa says commuters who are left stranded are now turning to taxis, putting pressure on passenger safety.

Commuters at a bus terminal in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town queue for taxis on 18 April 2018. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) has called on its drivers not to bow to pressure from commuters trying to overload their vehicles as they scramble for alternative transport due to the bus strike.

Bus drivers across the country went on strike on Wednesday demanding a 12% salary increase.

Seventeen bus companies have halted services with bosses claiming they can only afford a 7% wage hike.

Santaco's Thabisho Molelekwa says commuters who are left stranded are now turning to taxis, putting pressure on passenger safety.

“We call on law enforcement to ensure that those taxis that are found to be overloaded, drastic measures should be taken against them because while we provide services we do not want to expose commuters to risk.”

Meanwhile, train services are also taking the strain.

Metrorail in Cape Town is running additional trips, but are not allowing commuters to use their Golden Arrow clip cards to travel on trains.

The rail service's Riana Scott said: “We have the reciprocal arrangement with Golden Arrow. And Golden Arrow, at least, decided they would rather extend their clip cards’ validity period so that people who have lost trips during this strike can add it on to the end of their ticket so they’re not really losing in terms of the value of their clip cards.”

Scott says it’s easier for Metrorail commuters to use buses because they can be limited to off-peak periods.

“It’s a lot more difficult for us without the requisite technology to keep people out of the system during peak hours.
You’ll just exasperate the situation by saying they can use their tickets because they will try to use it during peak [times]. That’s just human nature."