South African Transport System

Metered Taxis (Maxi Taxis)

CONTEXT: This series of articles are a means to take a holistic view of our current transport system by assessing our various transport modes. In South Africa, there are numerous methods of transport — but they aren’t all supported as one united platform. You can read some of the background to gain context as to why I am writing this over here. They work efficiently in some areas, and in other areas they bring more harm than help. In the previous article the pros and cons of Uber & Taxify are mentioned here.

image source | Metered Taxi

Too expensive in comparison to Uber or Taxify options. Some are much older cars, sometimes dirty, but not all drivers. Drivers always haggle over the price. Some drivers drink while they drive. There’s always some kind of negotiating which makes each trip uncomfortable. If the meter is running, driver will not listen to you about the shortest routes, and will intentionally take longer routes to ensure increased fare at the end of the trip. Drivers will generally be rude and fight over the price, even if you’ve used those routes before and you know what the standard fee should be. The haggling, rude behaviour and overall bad customer service makes the trip unbearable, leaving more to opt for other means of transport instead.

However, in the past ±5years, I have had 2 reliable metered taxi drivers who I had an arrangement with for monthly payments. They worked for themselves and didn’t have meters, so were simply like Solo Drivers. We’d simply estimate the number of trips, the distance over a month and we’d agree on a price. They were both great conversationalists who always went out of their way to make sure I got where I needed to get to. So although there is a stereotype about these drivers, I can honestly say not all of them are bad. (Well the two I knew were normal family-orientated, hard working individuals).

However, after the escalating intimidation, violence & revenge attacks — makes me wonder if I should just work from home indefinitely.

I don’t see how compounding the problem by killing more parents/breadwinners makes any sense, on either side.

As if South Africa can afford for more kids to grow up without parents. Now it’s turned into an endless loop of, “he started it…and so each thinks that their violence/revenge is justified and they perpetuate the problem. Neither side is right, when both sides use violence and intimidation.

However, according to Chris Ravhuhali, (Chairperson of Pretoria Uber and Taxify representatives), told Pretoria News that the agencies are

“not violent people and are not people who will retaliate” …he asked that law enforcement agencies protect them from meter taxi drivers…”Our drivers are constantly being attacked and killed, but there are three police stations in this area — Sunnyside, Brooklyn and Pretoria Central. Violent metered drivers are walking all over us as if there are no police officers around.”

This statement is the growing voice of the uber/taxify drivers I speak to. They have all mentioned how the police have double standards, and will generally let the metered cabs off the hook, without any arrests being made, despite clear guilt. One driver has even mentioned, that recently in Johannesburg, he witnessed an uber driver being beaten up by a group of meter taxi drivers, and upon arrival the police just told them to stop fighting. Without any arrests being made to prevent the perpetrators from continuing their intimidation.

But there are 2 sides to the story. As there seems to be retaliation and violence springing up from both sides. Most will say that Uber/Taxify has taken away clients from Metered Taxi’s. However, there are also various means in place to assist Metered Taxi’s (refer to links below).

Another thing people seem to forget, is that you can’t simply put Uber/Taxify and Meter/Maxi Taxi’s in 2 separate categories. Many of these drivers overlap, and cover multiple sides. Meaning, they don’t just drive as Meter/Maxi, or just as Uber or Taxify. I’ve met many who are drivers for all 3 sides.The line is blurred, and ultimately, they are all simply drivers trying to make a living to support their families.

Payment method: cash only

Sources: Maxi drivers & passengers (+personal experiences)

Download this app, for emergencies:

Guess what, there’s an app for that too…Although it looks outdated, what’s nice about it, is that it has a panic button in top right corner. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s nice to know it’s there.

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