Jo’burg taxi fare hikes to go ahead

By Everson Luhanga

Taxi commuters in Johannesburg still face steep fare increases next week – despite the Gauteng government saying the fare hike has been called off.

The taxi associations behind the fare increase – more than double for some routes – said Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo had not contacted them before he announced on Wednesday that the fare increases were off.

They say they are sticking to their plans and also planning a strike.

The massive hikes of up to 170%, which have outraged commuters, were first reported last weekend by Scrolla.Africa.

The Alexandra-Randburg-Midrand-Sandton Taxi Association (Armsta) and the Alexandra Taxi Association (ATA) say the increases will kick in from Monday on routes between Alexandra and the northern suburbs of Sandton.

Mamabolo said in an audio statement that he had met with the provincial leadership of the taxi industry in Gauteng province – SANTACO and the Gauteng Taxi Alliance – and agreed that:

  • The price hike of over 170% to struggling commuters should not be implemented
  • There would be no taxi fare increase on 15 June 
  • There would be consultation on any increase
  • The MEC’s office will pass the taxi associations’ concerns about the government relief fund to the Minister of Transport

But ATA chairman Vusi Mayaba told Scrolla.Africa on Thursday that they will still implement the price hike – and they will also strike on Monday.

“The MEC for transport has not spoken to the two associations involved in the planning of the price hike. He might have spoken to his friends in some provincial associations,” Mayaba said.

“We are the right people to talk to and not any other association.”

The two associations will outline their plans for next week at a media briefing on Friday. “I will not speak in detail [before] the briefing scheduled because both ATA and Armsta must be present when such information is made public,” he said.

Commuters are hoping the government will intervene. “I don’t know where I will get that money for transport on Monday if the increased prices [happen],” said one Alex commuter, Cynthia Mathebula.