As the taxi industry counts the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic, intergovernmental consultations on a Taxi Industry Relief intervention are at an advanced stage.
This was confirmed by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula during a virtual meeting with the National Taxi Alliance (NTA) on Sunday.
“The Departments of Transport, Small Business, Labour, Trade and Competition as well as the National Treasury have agreed to support the industry and are currently looking at various modalities of assistance,” the Transport Ministry in a statement said.
The meeting was to discuss the effects the COVID-19 national lockdown regulations and directions were having on the sector.
During the lockdown period, taxis were permitted to ferry a maximum of 70% per load. Regulations stipulate that public transport was to operate between 5am and 10am and again resume operations from 4pm until 8pm.
The Ministry said the Minister during the meeting noted the grievance of the taxi industry. These ranged from alleged heavy-handedness of law enforcement and illegal profiteering by trucks and other vehicles ferrying passengers.
“Minister Mbalula also raised concerns about reports of taxi fare increments of up to 100 percent in some parts of the country, insufficient sanitisation as well as sporadic incidents of overloading and breaching of travel times,” read the statement.
Mbalula, however, acknowledged that the infringements were in the minority and that by large, the sector has complied with the directions on carrying capacity, operating times and the se of personal protective equipment.
Today’s discussions also extended to broader issues such as the formalization and subsidization of the taxi industry as well as the National Taxi Indaba scheduled to take place later this year. – SAnews.gov.za