Taxi rank pops up

Dunoon Taxi Association vehicles started a makeshift taxi rank in Blouberg, and residents aren't happy.

An illegal taxi rank has sprouted at a prime tourist spot near Doodles on the Blouberg beachfront.

It’s just one of several rogue pop-up ranks the City of Cape Town says it’s battling.

Blouberg resident Jamie Mascall said the authorities should act swiftly to shut the rank down before it mushroomed in size.

“I am a daily user of that particular stretch of beachfront, and I have noticed that in the afternoons, from about 2pm, taxis start flocking to the area. The same thing happened in Sandown Road. It started with a few taxis, and because nothing was done, it mushroomed into a sprawling taxi rank home to anything between 30 and 50 taxis,” he said.

The Sandown Road rank had soon attracted informal traders, litter, traffic congestion and people using the trees to relieve themselves, he said, warning the same thing could happen at Blouberg beachfront.

Mayoral committee member for transport Felicity Purchase said her department knew about the “illegal ranking” at Blouberg and confirmed the City had no deal with any taxi association allowing ranking there.

The City’s transport regulation department had investigated after getting complaints, she said. It had found that the taxis belonged to the Dunoon to Big Bay and Seaside Village Mall.

“Passengers have indicated that they prefer to make use of the taxis. Taxi operators have indicated they previously used the Seaside Village Mall and were asked not to operate from the mall. They then took it upon themselves to park the vehicles at this point mostly from 1pm to 4pm,” she said.

Blouberg resident Peter May conceded public transport was needed for those working in the area, but he said that did not give the taxis a right to follow their own rules.

“There are laws in place for things like this. The taxi associations need to do things by the book. I’ve lived here for nearly 20 years, and I’ve seen this place go down the dumps because of the lawlessness in our country. We all need to find a better solution than just hijacking a piece of land in Blouberg,” he said.

Ms Purchase said there were also illegal ranks in Sandown Road and Parklands Main Road (off Chippenham Crescent).

“This is not a dedicated taxi loading area, and the law must take its course. The challenge, however, is that the enforcement agencies do not have the resources to be there every day to take the necessary action with regard to those who rank there illegally.That said, we are doing all we can to ensure that this issue is resolved urgently,” she said.

The Dunoon Taxi Association’s secretary general, Frank Qotyiwe, said he had not visited the illegal rank at Blouberg, but he admitted their taxis used the area because of the demand.

“While I do admit that the taxis standing there are doing so illegally, our taxis are only trying to serve the community. We are in the process of approaching the centre management in the area to provide loading space for the benefit of their staff not to be stranded as we have a deal with Bayside and Table Bay malls,” he said.

Mr Qotyiwe said their drivers had been at the site for the past two years.

“I don’t see how we are bothering anyone by being there. We are supplying a service for the poor. In these past two years, our drivers have received fines, and we tell them not to use that spot, but we can’t stop them because, like I said, they see a need by the people, and they have to provide.”