Johannesburg – The SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) has made a U-turn on its plans to stage a shutdown in Gauteng on June 22 to demonstrate its opposition to the Covid-19 lockdown regulations that are limiting taxi operators’ ability to operate and make ends meet.
Santaco members met on Wednesday morning to talk about the plans, but a press to announce the shutdown was canceled following a discussion between Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula and Santaco president Phillip Taaibosch.
Spokesperson of Santaco Thabiso Molelekwa said that since the beginning of the lockdown the taxi industry has been operating at a loss.
“At 70% passenger capacity, you are not making a profit. These taxi operators were losing money to the point that if we had not moved to 70% capacity, they would have had to stop operating completely,” said Molelekwa.
The Alexandra Taxi Association responded by increase taxi fares by 172%, however, Santaco deemed it “unrealistic” to expect cash-strapped passengers to afford that increase.
“We are saying as Santaco that the increase was never practical, as much as the taxi industry is hardest hit. There are equally hard-hit people by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Molelekwa said.
A fare increase has however not been ruled out completely as the taxi industry increases fares every year between June and July.