THE days of taxi drivers losing money by deviating from their routes and taxi rank queues for minor services on their vehicles could soon be over with the launch of the first Bardahl South Africa Eyethu shop in the Eastern Cape.
The Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) and Lutramart, trading as Bardahl SA, have entered into a partnership for establishing and rolling out about 30 shops which are expected to employ 300 youths at taxi ranks.
The Chatham taxi rank Bardahl Eyethu shop in Mthatha is a R3.1-million, six-month pilot, which will be used to develop a business plan for the roll-out of the other shops.
The ECDC contributed R2.5million to the project with Bardahl providing the balance.
ECDC Risk Capital head Phakamisa George said: “The shops will be located at taxi ranks throughout the province to provide a convenience service to taxi operators.
“They will sell car lubricants, oils, additives, as well as fastmoving car parts such as spark plugs, brake pads, filters and shock absorbers, among other items.
“Taxi drivers, unlike ordinary drivers, do not have the luxury of time to go out of their routes to go to suppliers.
“The idea is to bring the service to the taxi rank in their area of operation while allowing them to protect and secure their position in the queue,” George said.
The pilot shop will employ 14 young people to sell the products at the Chatham taxi rank.
Should the Mthatha pilot prove successful, independent operators will get an opportunity to apply to Bardahl SA for an operator’s licence to manage the rest of the 29 shops planned for the province.
“The increased investment should lead to the establishment of new viable enterprises, expansion of existing enterprises, creation and saving of jobs, and sustainable economic growth in the Eastern Cape,” George said.