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Alexandra commuters outraged over coming taxi fare hikes

With many households across the country facing economic uncertainty, commuters will bear the brunt of the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on public transport.

Commuters disembark from a taxi. Picture: 123rf

JOHANNESBURG - Alexandra commuters on Monday were outraged after two Johannesburg taxi associations announced price hikes due to take effect from next week.

The Alexandra, Randburg, Midrand, Sandton Taxi Association (Armsta), which operates one of the city’s busiest routes, said its decision to charge Alexandra commuters R30 for a trip to Sandton was due to the COVID-19 regulations imposed on the industry by government, particularly the 70% passenger loading capacity.

With many households across the country facing economic uncertainty, commuters will bear the brunt of the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on public transport.

Hlompang Mokoena, a security guard at Sandton City, said that his entire salary would go towards his transport if the fare increase was implemented.

Mokoena pleaded with government to find a middle ground with the taxi industry.

“Most of my income will now go towards transport. R30 for a single trip will be R60 for a return trip. This will affect us a lot and the government should help us,” he said.

Cecilia Ngubeni, a domestic worker, said that she returned to work last week after nearly two months of no income.

“They [taxi operators] don’t even think about us, they think about themselves. How can they increase the fares by more than 50%?”

TAXI INDUSTRY COLLAPSING

The National Taxi Alliance (NTA), though, said that the fare increase was justifiable.

The NTA said that the 70% passenger loading capacity did not work for them and the industry was collapsing.

“We are losing a lot of revenue and this is not the way business should be run as the way things are happening right now,” said Santaco’s Gauteng secretary general Ralph Jones.

Jones said that they had been left with no choice but to implement the price hike as they were operating at a loss, and the rise in fuel prices had made matters worse.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula is expected to meet with the taxi industry. However, if the situation can not be resolved, the ministry will be compelled to recommend the matter to the Competition Commission.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.