It has been reported that more than 70 taxi associations in Johannesburg are expected to implement taxi fare hikes from next Monday, due to poor profit making during this lockdown.
It was announced on Sunday that about 76 taxi associations, 61 taxi associations affiliated with the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco), and 15 affiliated with the Top Six Taxi Association were expected to hike taxi fares.
This followed the Alexandra-Randburg-Midrand-Sandton Taxi Associations (Armsta) and the Alexandra Taxi Association (ATA) had already announced that there would be a 172% increase in taxi fares from R11 to R30.
Santaco Gauteng spokesperson Midday Mali said 61 of their affiliations were considering introducing a taxi fare increment, yet the matter has not been confirmed or finalised yet.
“We are going to call our Johannesburg affiliates, including the Alexandra Taxi Association, so that we renegotiate this fare increase of 172% with them tomorrow and on Wednesday we will have a bigger forum.
”We are not saying that must not increase, but not with that 172%,” he said.
Sam said the associations felt that the increment was justified because the 70% capacity taxi regulation was hurting the industry.
“These taxis that are operating with only 70% capacity, without subsidies from the government, will be repossessed because, for example, I would not be able to pay the bank, as the owner I would not be able to feed my family.
“I will also won’t be able to pay the drivers,” he said.
The chairperson said the taxi industry complied with the government’s lockdown regulations, because commuters’ lives were at stake. However, the government had yet to provide relief to the industry.
“Right now we are stagnant and we’re not getting help from the government, but we don’t even know how much they will give us,” he said.
Sam said the government should approach banks and ask them to freeze the accounts of taxi owners until the coronavirus pandemic ends.
“They are going to repossess our taxis and even our small cars, they will repossess our houses and we won’t have money for school fees for our children,” he said.
“I own two taxis, but they are barely making any money and I can’t pay for all of my instalments because there isn’t any money coming in,” he said.