South African scientists can help the Department of Transport solve a number of challenges in the taxi industry.
This is according to Transport Minister, Joe Maswanganyi, adddressing the 2017 Southern African Transport Conference (SATC) at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria.
Referring to the recent minibus taxi strike, the minister says the transport sector had to move with the times.
“The taxi industry does not want Uber. I said to them, ‘Why don’t you digitalise your industry’? We can’t resist change; we have to move with it.”
Maswanganyi challenged the transport community to find solutions. “The issue is technology. Young people like technology, and we need a South African solution. Assist us to bring the metered taxi business into a new era.”
He adds that issues raised by the taxi industry are legitimate and called on taxi financiers to provide better deals.
“It is cheaper to finance an E-Class Mercedes-Benz than a minibus taxi. The interest rate is 28%. That is exploitation,” he says.
He noted the minibus taxi industry moved 68% of South African public transport users daily, but is not subsidised. At the same time, the government is paying bus operators subsidies, although some operators were not using the agreed routes.
“We need to subsidise transport users, not operators,” he adds.
According to the Department of Transport, the minibus taxi industry spends R39-billion on fuel, R7-billion on vehicles and R2,4-billion on insurance, annually.