Kouga moves to centralise taxi ranks

Kouga Municipality is working on establishing centralised taxi ranks in its major towns.

The move follows on complaints from commuters, motorists and taxi operators about the haphazard manner in which ranks have been popping up at various places.

Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson said the municipality was in discussion with taxi associations and independent operators about moving all operations towards centralised municipal ranks.

“There is great concern that illegal ranks are being opened willy-nilly and this brings great challenges such as unhealthy competition among the various parties involved,” he said.

Benson said there was a notable increase in taxis operating from parking lots in front of business premises and shopping malls.

“This is in contravention of the operating licences, as a taxi rank must be approved by the municipality.

“Even roadside parking space is becoming less available for general motorists due to these being converted into mini-ranks by taxi operators. This is not fair to the public as parking space is already limited,” he said.

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Benson said once an agreement had been reached with the taxi industry, a phased approach would be taken to move the taxis to the provided space.

“In Humansdorp, for instance, we have a very big but neglected taxi rank in Bureau Street, with all the necessary facilities,” he said.

He said the municipality would be engaging affected parties about ways to combat illegal operations and to allay fears of unfair competition among the different associations and independent operators.

“We have laws that govern the industry. If these are being ignored and trampled upon, we have to enforce the law. We will do this together with other law enforcement agencies such as the Department of Transport and the police” said Benson.

The municipality’s Traffic Department will also be conducting regular operations aimed specifically at public transport. The focus will be on the roadworthiness of vehicles, operating permits, driver’s licences, including Professional Driving Permits (PDP), and overloading.

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