Red and Blue Dot Taxi initiative receives mixed reactions

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Aug 11, 2021

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Cape Town - While the Red and Blue Dot Taxi initiatives are a step towards the long-term goal of a formalised industry, calls have been made for fairness in the allocation of vehicles on routes, to avoid violent tensions rising again in the taxi industry.

Members of the standing committee of transport and public works submitted this advice to the provincial Transport Department yesterday, after they presented updates on the initiatives and the status of the arbitration process of the closed B97 route.

According to the chief director for transport regulation Yasir Ahmed, the first round of the arbitration concluded and the next hearing was expected to resume on August 14.

“This will likely also go to court for a declarator so that the decision that is made by the arbitrator is legally binding on Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta), who are fighting over ownership. At this stage, law enforcement agencies and police remain in place. The route and Mbekweni taxi ranks remain closed, as it is also still a high risk and both parties are still not willing to share,” said Ahmed.

MEC Daylin Mitchell closed Route B97 following a bloody conflict between the two taxi associations.

Meanwhile, Good secretary-general Brett Herron said the Blue Dot pilot project, which will run for nine months, is already costing R150 million and is accessible to less than 10% of the licensed taxi fleet in the province.

“The Red Dot and Blue Dot are good concepts in principle. However, we have not seen a feasibility plan or a project plan, and there is no information on we can access on whether it is sustainable and implementable at a large scale. The pilot project was already causing some unhappiness, as a small sample of taxi operators were includedm while the majority were excluded,” said Herron.

“The concerns I raised is that the plan may increase tensions within the industry. If the provincial government is not able to scale up to include the whole industry – which seems would be very costly – then I am worried,” he said.

ANC transport spokesperson Lulama Mvimbi said it was concerning that some towns have not benefited from the pilot project.

Chief director of Transport Operations Deidre Ribbonnaar said the Blue Dot pilot was introduced to improve public transport.

According to Ribbonnaar, there are about 600 operators and 1 300 vehicles across the province.

In terms of the six metro regions, about 200 vehicles per region were allocated and 50 vehicles in each of the two non-metro regions.

“Not everyone could be included in the pilot project. We met with each regional representative association, and we explained the principle – that, being a pilot project, there will be people excluded. As leaders of the region, they need to decide which routes they will present to the government. So they decided. We had a problem in Mitchells Plain, but that was mainly a leadership issue. George was excluded because they are benefiting from the Go George programme.

“The maximum amount an operator can generate is R10 000, if they get five stars everyday – which is highly unlikely. In the two months, only 10% of operators have managed that. The better a region performs, the better in the monetary allocation,” said Ribbonnaar.

Cape Times

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