The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) is set to introduce taxi fare hikes that will see passengers digging deeper into their pockets.
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Taxi fares to increase by over 100%
The Alexandra Taxi Association (ATA) and the Alexandra, Randburg, Midrand, Sandton Taxi Association (Armsta) announced last week that it would increase its fares by more than 100%.
The associations said the price hikes are the result of losses suffered by the industry due to the Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions. Taxis are permitted to only carry 70% of their capacity to ensure social distancing for the duration of the lockdown.
More associations join price hike
Seventy-six more associations said they would join ATA and Armsta in introducing price hikes to make up for losses during the lockdown.
Mashishi Mashishi, deputy chairperson of Santaco in the Greater Johannesburg region, said the industry had not received any form of relief from the government, effectively leaving it to them to “subsidise passengers”.
“Now government has started to give people who are not working R350 a month, but not yet any funding to the taxi industry. This is our business — nobody is subsidising us. We are sick and tired of subsidising the passengers. We’ve been subsidising the passengers for 100 years!”
Santaco wants billions in government relief
Santaco rejected a R1bn offer made by the government during a meeting on Sunday, on the basis that this is not enough.
The Sunday Times reported that the Santaco relief fund is part of the R500bn Covid-19 package. It was also reported that the association wants to operate with full passenger loads and be permitted to operate long-distance routes, even though travelling between provinces is not allowed during the lockdown.
‘Reasonable’ price increases in July
Santaco said it would increase prices but ensure that these are reasonable and affordable. This had nothing to with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, said association spokesperson Thabiso Molelekwa.
He said if Santaco does not implement the price hike, at least 45% of their vehicles would be repossessed.
Increases capped at between R5 and R7
Several taxi associations in Gauteng will increase their prices by between R5 and R7 as of July 1. Gauteng Santaco chairperson Johannes Mkhonza said this will depend on the distance of the route, but the increase must be capped at R7.
He said the fare increase was necessary as Santaco members struggle with operational costs, which sees them cough up between R15,000 and R16,000 on vehicle installments.
TimesLIVE (TMG Digital)