THE taxi industry has moved to allay fears that it would be immediately hiking fares amid the huge increases in fuel prices this week.
The SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) has reassured customers that taxi fares will remain at their current rates. The fuel price increases came into effect on Wednesday with the price of petrol increasing by R1 a litre, while the diesel price increased by 63 to 65 cents per litre depending on the grade.
KZN Santaco provincial manager, Sifiso Shangase said taxi fares would remain as they were prior to the fuel price hikes, but said increases in fares were expected in June or July. Shangase said the industry was engaging about prices and seeking advice from economists.
“We are aware of the needs and situation of customers. At the end of the day, we need to make sure that they can afford (the fares), as difficult as the situation is,” he said.
Shangase added that the industry was still recovering from the economic effects of the lockdown and that some businesses had not recovered at all.
He added that the relief programmes set up for the industry presented a real challenge. “The requirements are not realistic for us as they require us to convert from individuals to companies. Why is it not enough that you are a driver and you have the documents supporting that? “Another challenge is that the amount is given per taxi; that is not enough to cover the driver’s salary as well as the owner and their costs. We are not happy with the requirements to receive the funds, as well as the amount,” he said.
EThekwini Metro Taxi Council chairperson Mathula Mkhize affirmed that their rates would not increase following the recent fuel price hike.
“We are in consultation regarding the hike that is to take place normally in June/July,” he said.
Concerned commuters said they feared a hike in taxi fares. Nosipho Gumede, from uMlazi, said the current taxi fare from where she lives to the CBD was already too high. “I am already spending R42 a day on transport. I do not have a proper income, so on top of paying for transport, I still need to spend on looking for a job.”