Residents rat on errant taxis

A taxi drives through Braselton Road to the Table Bay Mall.

Sunningdale residents are angry about taxis rat-running through their suburb to get to and from the new Table Bay Mall.

Roger Hinkley posted about the issue on social media, complaining that taxis were leaving their designated routes to use the suburb as a short cut.

“As predicted, once the Table Bay Mall opened, the taxis are streaming through the housing area of Sunningdale via Braselton and Sunningdale roads. Just a matter of time before a kid is knocked over.

“I stood on Braselton for 20 minutes between 8.30am and 8.50am and counted 10 taxis. I would imagine this is far greater in peak times.”

Mr Hinkley’s post prompted a response from other residents. Diane Colman said: “They have now become a serious problem along Sunningdale Drive and Braselton Road. Once again a law unto themselves.”

Table View Ratepayers’ Association (TVRA) spokeswoman Mandy Da Matta accused the City of Cape Town and the mall’s management of not heeding residents’ concerns about the mall’s impact on road safety.

“Table Bay Mall, the councillors and the City have failed to act in the appropriate manner. They are acting as if they are not interested in these concerns. It’s as if they [the mall] have tunnel-vision and the only goal they see is to make money,” said Ms Da Matta.

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member transport and urban development, said the City had anticipated people flocking to the mall from all over Cape Town, but there had been no way to gauge actual numbers until it opened.

Now that it had, the City would run surveys to see how many people were coming into the area by taxi.

“The said numbers will then determine the number of authorities to be granted to operate to and from the Table Bay Mall,” said Mr Herron.

Ward councillor Nora Grose said taxis had a been a problem in Sunningdale even before the mall opened, and she had called on the traffic authorities to enforce the law.

“Unfortunately these taxis will take any gap they can find to operate. I can only keep escalating this matter to the officials for their intervention,” said Ms Grose.

The Table Bay Mall set up a rank for about 20 taxis on the corner of Sunningdale Drive and Berkshire Boulevard.

Table Bay Mall’s marketing manager Karla Linder said the mall strove to to respond to the community’s concerns.

“The current situation allows for commuters to use facilities of MyCiTi which further drops and collects passengers at the taxi rank in Blaauwberg Road.

“We are working closely with the City and local authorities where raised concerns are tabled,” said Ms Linder.

She said there were no further agreements between taxi associations and Table Bay Mall.

The taxi associations in the area include the Dunoon Taxi Association (DTA), Ysterplaat Taxi Association, Maitland Taxi Association, Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA) and Congress of Democratic Taxi Association (CODETA).

Fezile Gqeba, a DTA driver, admitted taxis were using Sunningdale roads as short cuts and all the drivers knew the designated route was the R27 via Berkshire Boulevard.

But, he said, it was unrealistic not to expect to see taxis near a shopping centre.

“It is a well-known fact that wherever there is a mall or shopping centre, there will be taxis. There is no way that you will find one without the other,” said Mr Gqeba.

DTA secretary general Frank Oqotyiwe said taxi associations had met to discuss the issue last Friday

“The associations have agreed to discipline their members if they fail to use the designated routes,” said Mr Oqotyiwe.

He encouraged the public to report transgressions to the TVRA and the Greater Table View Action Forum so that action could be taken against the drivers.