News / South Africa

Virginia Keppler
2 minute read
18 Jun 2018
6:30 am

Metered taxis get their own app

Virginia Keppler

Meter taxi operators want to stay in business and have developed their own taxi app.

Drivers of metered taxis seen near the Sandton Gautrain station on July 6, 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Yesterday, Uber drivers and passengers around Johannesburg were intimidated and harassed by meter taxi drivers who are unhappy about sharing the same routes with the online taxi service. (Photo by Gallo Images / The Times / Moeletsi Mabe).

Meter taxi operators in Tshwane have launched their own taxi app in an effort to stay in business and compete with market disrupters, while they hope the Competition Commission and government can find a way for taxi operators and ride-sharing apps to compete fairly.

Daniel Segwale, former deputy chairperson of the now dissolved Tshwane Metered Taxi Council, said to make sure they were not put out of business, their new app, PointA2B, will charge fares between Taxify’s R6.50 and Uber’s R7.50 per kilometre.

Segwale said 70% of the taxi operators in the city have already bought into this new way of operating.

“They are very positive and we hope that we can roll out the app to taxi operators in other regions in Gauteng.”

“We have written to the Competition Commission to investigate the transport industry, and in particular the pricing between meter taxis, Uber and Taxify,” Segalwe said.

After receiving complaints, the commission embarked on an inquiry to look at ways to stabilise the transport industry in Gauteng. It has indicated that the scope of the inquiry will include pricing mechanisms, price regulation, transport planning, allocation of subsidies, route allocation and licensing requirements.

“Our main concern now is that the Tshwane municipality will hold everybody operating to the same regulations as they hold metered taxis, he said.

“While they have to have permits to operate, Uber and Taxify are not complying with the same regulations. We have a regulated taxi starting point [rank], but Uber and Taxify do not have that. They stand anywhere and everywhere,” Segwale said.

He is of the opinion that all taxi operators should fall under the same taxi association, to make competition fair. Dalingcebo Mlotohwa, director and cofounder of PointA2B, said they are excited about the app and that the client can compare all prices.

“People like convenience and this is a good feature that we are offering them. We have a real feeling of safety and clients can e-mail or even call for a taxi.

We also have real-time sharing where one client can share a trip with someone,” Mlotohwa said.

According to him, safety is a top concern and through the app intoxicated drivers on the roads can be reduced. Segwale said most meter taxis were in a good condition but some were not.

“To help those who need new cars, we have made an agreement with a well-known motor brand, who will help assist their drivers to acquire new vehicles at affordable monthly payments,” Segwale said.

Vanessa Anderson at Nissan South Africa have confirmed they have made tailor-made packages for taxis available.