Taxi fare hike a big blow to commuters

Yoliswa Sobuwa, Pericles Anetos, Unathi Jongihlathi 

TAXI commuters in Nelson Mandela Bay will soon be feeling the pinch when fares rise by up to 20% this month.

The increase, announced by the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco), comes on the back of the latest fuel price hike earlier this month.

Once the increases come into effect, commuters travelling within the Bay will pay between R1 and R5 more and long distance commuters between R10 and R50 more per trip.

The Herald team took trips along major Port Elizabeth routes yesterday and found there was not much difference in cost.

Commuter Samkelo Marwanqa said taxis were quicker as he often had to wait longer for a bus to arrive.

“The price hike will leave adeep hole in our pockets, especially us students but we have no other means of transportation,” he said.

Lucindo Snyders said while taxis were quicker and easier, buses were safer.

“Sometimes people get robbed in taxis and you don’t know when you might be robbed. Some of us have to take two taxis to reach our destination and this will affect us very badly,” he said.

Vuyani Madoda, 40, of Motherwell, said: “I take a taxi because I don’t have the patience to wait for the bus because it goes at certain times, unlike a taxi that you can go on anytime. The taxi fare increase will kill us financially. As a result a lot of commuters will be forced to travel by bus.”

Westville High School pupil Lihle Jesus, 16, of Kwazakhele, said he spent more than R20 a day travelling to and from school.

“With the taxi price increase, I am worried this will be too much for my parents and I will end up attending school in the location, which will not be good for me,” he said.

Thandiswa Mankabane, 31, who works in Queenstown, pays R170 from Port Elizabeth to Queenstown.

“This means I will have to pay more. It is going to be very difficult for us to come home for events like funerals and family gatherings.

“The price hike will leave a big dent in our pockets,” she said.

Long distance taxi owner Mxolisi Matshaka said they were “just as worried” about the increases, although the public assumed they would be happy.

“For us the taxi business puts food on the table. Now a lot of commuters will choose to hitchhike because it is cheaper.

“They don’t understand that they are putting their lives at risk because there is no passenger liability or a passenger list should anything happen to them.

“People’s taxis are being repossessed because they can’t pay their monthly installments.

“We are not even getting the government subsidy, so just like commuters we do feel the pinch when the taxi fare goes up.”

Ncedo Taxi Association spokesman Ried Jonono said they welcomed the increase.

“The fuel price is forever going up and we only increase taxi fares once a year. It is not like we are going to benefit from this taxi fare increase because there are a lot of things we have to pay for.”

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