fikile mbalula

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. Photo: Fikile Mbalula / TW

Mbalula to engage the taxi industry on massive fare hikes

The minister has warned that the shockingly high taxi fare increases could be unlawful and is willing to take the matter up with the Competition Commission for final determination, should push come to shove

fikile mbalula

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. Photo: Fikile Mbalula / TW

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula intends meeting with the taxi industry, in a bid to resolve the recently-announced fare increases, set to kick in from 15 June 2020.

The Alexandra, Randburg, Midrand, Sandton Taxi Association (Armsta) has announced that a trip from Alexandra to Sandton, just a stone throw away, would skyrocket from R11 to R30.

In a notice, the association said the decision was due to the COVID-19 regulations imposed on the industry by government, particularly the 70% passenger loading capacity.

“This increase is necessary as we are losing revenue and government is not assisting taxi operators,” read the notice.

In light of the lockdown, Mbalula implemented a series of rules and regulations to be followed the industry which imaginably, has also recorded major financial losses as a result. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have lost their jobs while others have been told to only return at a later stage as they are not essential workers.

Mbalula had initially imposed a curfew on the use of public transport, however that was soon relaxed under level 3 – likely a silver lining for the taxi business.

Mbalula warns against irregular price hiking

In a statement on Sunday, 7 June 2020, the minister said while he empathizes with taxi sector, he has urged associations and operators to be mindful of the poor in determining the fares, especially given the economic fallout as a result of the pandemic.

Mbalula has further warned the taxi industry that current regulations prevent illegal profiteering and that he could be approaching the Competition Commission to assess if the fare prices are fair and justifiable.

“We are aware that some taxis have not been operating for some time now and that those which have been operating have been doing so at a limited capacity. We understand that there may be a need for fare increases but those increases must be fair, the industry must take into consideration the plight of the poor and the working class, who form the majority of their customers. Anything outside of that fairness is illegality”

Fikile Mbalula

“The minister will engage with the industry to seek clarity on the latest developments”, the statement concluded.