A price rise has been announced by South African National Taxi Council (Santaco), which will impact every company in the country. 

For Johannesburg commuters a huge taxi ride will be introduced, with smugglers on a busiest route in town seeking to compensate for the public transportation shutdown of the Covid-19.

The Sandton Taxi Association (Armsta) in Alexandra, Randburg, Midrand has announced a trip from the city of Alexandra north of Johannesburg, from R11 to R30 from 15 June 2010. The taxi association said in a notification to passengers that the increase was due to the government regulating its capacity to restrict to 70%, in an attempt to reduce the propagation of the coronavirus.

Every day, thousands of people travel to Alexandra, less than 10 kilometers from the rich Sandton district and taxis are the main means of transport.

The South African National Taxi Council’s (Santaco) Provincial Office confirmed the tender for the South African national taxi ride on Sunday and Midday, provincial spokesman, Mali, told the meeting next week that the matter is discussed. Mali said it is up to individual taxi associations to decide to increase the fee.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula withdrew from his earlier decision in April to allow taxis to transport passengers in full, which allowed taxis to carry only 70% of the regular capacity of their passengers. Also, all passengers wearing masks are expected to comply with physical distancing regulations.

The mini-bus taxi sector is set to be one of South Africa’s major beneficiaries of the coronavirus crisis, because the lock-out has interrupted train services, while the global recession is imminent, said the industry finance firm Transaction Capital.

While it has earmarked R126 million to cover impairs this year, the company, which co-owns SA Taxi with SANTACO, expects the taxi industry to bounce back to normal much faster. In April the taxi operators were already seeing increased activity, and clear roads led to more frequent journeys and improved profitability for the public transport industry in SA.

Santaco had called for a daily compensation of the losses suffered during the lockdown of the country by taxi operators with R250 earlier. Since the beginning of the national lock-down on 27 March, passengers have dropped in the economy, the backbone of the public transport system of the country.

During the first six weeks of lockdown, SA Taxi did not sell any minibus taxis or grant new loans as well. Nevertheless, Hurwitz said that the taxi industry should take on more market share because of the possible decreases in new vehicle sales, which have taken place since 2013, when more people instead choose used cars.

In addition, SANTACO, which owns 25% of SA Taxim, was a representative of the industry and quickly helped to remain in business, retaining its supremacy in the public transport market, since the lock-down placed some restrictions on the taxi operators.

By Noni Nchwe