While most of us are still asleep at 3am, 15-year-old Katlehong resident Bathabile Ludidi, a Benoni High School pupil, leaves home and travels in three different taxis to get to school, located 52 km from his home, which comes down to about R2,000 every month, he told Benoni City Times.
Bathabile has been using public transport for three years, and when asked what the experience felt like he said: “When I first started travelling by myself, it was scary as taxi ranks are full of people and it takes a while to get used to the noise and walking out when it is still dark outside.
“I have gotten used to the dark and travelling by myself, it is a different experience now as I get to see different people every day and I also get to see the regular people I travel with. Seeing them puts my mind at ease because I know I am going the right way,” he said.
He also highlighted some of the challenges he faces when travelling with a taxi, such as frustrations when taxis break down, and having to wait an hour for another to arrive, the high cost of taxi fares, overcrowding, the risk of getting robbed at the taxi rank, and weather challenges.
When asked what he would like to see change in the public transport system, he said that schoolchildren should get discounts.
“I think as learners, we should be paying half the price when travelling by taxi, as we are still learners, and that would decrease the cost for parents to pay.
“I would not advise any learner to travel by taxi. If possible, they should get transport and if it is unavoidable, they should be careful,” he said.
Ludidi provided some tips for learners travelling by taxi:
• Always look behind you.
• Be aware of your surroundings.
• Be quick and walk straight to the taxi.
• Do not talk to strangers.
• If you do not know where you are going, ask a taxi driver.
• Make sure you have all your personal belongings before you leave the taxi.
• Avoid crowded areas at the taxi rank.
• Before you get into a taxi, ask how much the taxi costs.
“The best thing about taxis is when you are in a rush in the morning, they can get you where you need to be really quickly.”