CRA Public Transport News – South Africa
The lucrative taxi industry in South Africa is an essential part of the economy. Minibus taxis move the majority of the country’s urban population to work and home again every day. It is estimated that the industry generates R90 billion in revenue every year. Operators spend about R39 billion on fuel and about R2 billion on vehicle insurance annually. Each taxi makes an estimated annual revenue of R450,000. The taxi industry relies on large numbers of trips to compensate for low profit margins. Drivers often disregard speed limits, roadworthy requirements and passenger safety in order to stay on the road increase profit. The government has initiated the “Recapitalisation Project” to address the challenge of dangerous minibuses on South Africa’s roads. The project aims to introduce safety requirements for new vehicles and a scrapping allowance for unroadworthy taxis. Regulators hope that this will improve commuter comfort and safety by removing old minibuses from the 150,000 strong fleet. -Melani Nathan
South Africa begins talks to regulate key minibus taxi industry
By Gemma Gatticchi
(Bloomberg) – South Africa’s government began talks to regulate the minibus taxi industry, a key economic sector that transports 40% of the population but whose reputation has been tarnished by lawlessness and a poor safety record.
The private industry employs 300,000 drivers and generates an estimated 90 billion rand or $5.5 billion in revenue every year. Taxis are often the only option for workers in low-income areas as the nation’s bus system is limited. Dilapidated passenger trains are prone to lengthy delays.
“Given its financial size, formalizing the taxi industry is a vital step toward ensuring its contribution to the national tax revenue base,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said last week. The president gave a virtual address during a conference with taxi representatives and government officials. Among the challenges facing the industry are labor relations, allegations of exploitation of workers and compliance with tax laws, he said.
The talks may eventually result in an accord that will be “anchored in the rule of law,” Ramaphosa said. Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said that “something fundamental” should be on the table by April 2021, without giving further details.
Stronger regulation is needed following persistent reports of abuse of passengers, Phillip Taaibosch, the head of the South African National Taxi Council, told the conference.
“If you kill or you rape in the taxi industry, if provided with the necessary regulating powers, we will make sure you don’t come back to this industry anymore,” he said.
Article Credit To Biz News.