Table View taxi trouble revs residents

A taxi using the MyCiTI bus lane on Blaauwberg Road.

Table View residents say taxi drivers in the suburb are getting away with reckless and illegal behaviour that frequently puts other motorists’ lives at risk.

Residents say the taxi drivers disobey the rules of the road, drive in MyCiTi bus lanes and act aggressively, but complaints to the authorities seem to draw little response and they fear the drivers are simply left to break the law with impunity.

Table View resident Jackie Bailie was parked at a traffic light in Wood Drive on Tuesday August 16. When the light changed the taxi in front of her didn’t move. She described what happened next in an email to Tabletalk.

“I was waiting for the robot to turn green so that I could go, when a taxi stopped in front of me blocking my right of way. The robot turned green so I hooted for him to move, it took a while for him to move, I then turned on to Blaauwberg Road the next thing he stopped dead and proceeded to reverse towards me.

“Luckily there were no cars coming, so I reversed back, scared that he would reverse into me. The frightening thing is that I had my daughter in the car. My daughter called SAPS but they told me they could do nothing as the taxi had already driven off,” she said.

Table View resident Des Palm said on the Table View Ratepayers’ Association Facebook Page, he had laid a complaint with the police about a taxi driver’s reckless driving which had endangered the lives of others, but the police had simply told him that “no serious injuries or damage to property occurred” and “the incident was not witnessed by a law enforcement official”.

Mr Palm said: “The problem with taxis and their daily lawlessness needs no elaboration. We are also aware of the three accidents that took place lately involving taxis. This situation has no resolution in sight as the sporadic appearance of law enforcement is definitely not the answer.

“We are all paying our rates and taxes obediently to a local government who persistently ignores our safety and has no respect for the well-being of our people.”

Table View Ratepayers’ Association (TVRA) chairwoman Mandy da Matta told Mr Palm it was up to the authorities to find a solution.

“The ratepayers’ association should report on these matters to assist both the municipal authorities and residents to come to a solution that works for all.

“I implore you to make suggestions to this exco,” said Ms Da Matta on Facebook.

Table View resident Schulla Pronk said she had counted 192 taxi on Blaauwberg Road on Friday September 2, between 5.30pm and 6.30pm.

Ms Pronk, has been counting taxis in Table View for just over a year.

The introduction of the MyCiTi route, she argues, was meant to reduce taxi numbers, replacing them with

MyCiTi buses, but she believes taxi numbers have only increased and the City is powerless to stop their lawless behaviour.

“Six go by in one go. They literally go by in hordes. There are more taxis now than there ever has been in Table View. The taxi buy-out didn’t work,” she said.

“With the MyCiTi buy-out, taxis were surrendered, but the number has only increased. They are a danger to most of us and the moves they pull are crazy.

“The City should be doing these investigations or the ratepayers, it shouldn’t be up to the public,” said Ms Pronk.

Table View taxi driver, Gibson Gilbert he has been working as a taxi driver in Table View for three years and said that the problem is that there is no taxi rank for taxis in Table View.

“I come here (to Bayside mall) everytime and I get fines everyday. I use my money to pay the fines and get no money after. I want to work for MyCiTi next year, I get way too many fines here,” said Mr Gilbert.

Taxi driver, Sikhumduza Right said that he has been driving his taxi in Table View for six months and said that he has already received a few fines.

“There is no space for taxis, people complain all the time, someone drove into me once. There is no space for us,” said Mr Right.

Ward 107 councillor Nicky Rheeder said there was more to the taxi problem then enforcement, because thousands of fines were issued and thousands of taxis were impounded but taxi driver behaviour did not change because the courts were failing to process the volumes of fines.

“The City has taken several steps to attempt to achieve compliance of taxis with legislation, including agreement with sheriffs of the court to assist in executing warrants of arrest, and the new provincial Traffic Act to address weaknesses and gaps in national traffic legislation,” said Ms Rheeder.

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport, said the City’s transport authority, Transport for Cape Town, was forming taxi operating companies (TOCs) , which will own operating licences and not individuals taxis, as is currently the case. Individual taxi operators will transfer their licences to the TOC in exchange for shareholding in the company. It’s hoped this move will transform the taxi industry.

“We are aiming to have the first TOCs established by June 2017,” said Mr Herron.