Taxi associations slow to support project
Battling to get support from all the taxi organisations, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has had to shift its launch date for the troubled bus system back by yet another month.
Only four of the 10 associations have signed the memorandum of agreement with the municipality to operate the buses for the longawaited integrated public transport system (IPTS).
Since October, the municipality has maintained it would launch the project this month and start the pilot on the Cleary Park route.
But the metro’s political head of roads and transport, Rano Kayser, said they would now launch the pilot at the end of next month.
This follows years of delays and several disruptions on the project, which has cost about R2-billion so far.
But Kayser was optimistic that being able to sign four of the 10 associations was a step forward.
The municipality had previously negotiated with cooperative Laphum’ilanga on behalf of all the taxi bodies.
Kayser said the agreement had the support of Santaco regional structure. “The associations that have signed a memorandum of agreement are directly affected within the routes that have been targeted for the roll-out of IPTS,” he said.
“We will launch the pilot project at the end of May and follow with the full roll-out in June.
“We have to convince the taxi operators that our intention to work with them is above-board, based on honesty, and that it is genuine.”
He said some of the major concerns of the operators had been the future of their businesses and their income.
“We have established an industrial consultative committee which involves the municipality and the taxi associations,” Kayser said.
“The city remains the only municipality that has not rendered this service, even though the infrastructure has been constructed and the buses were purchased and have been docked at the depot since 2013.”
The signing of an agreement paves the way for the formation of a vehicle operating company to render a public transport service as an agency on behalf of the city.
Kayser said a driving instructor would be made available to train some of the taxi drivers to operate the buses.