In issue 9 of FOCUS we detailed the eThekwini Municipality’s Moja Cruise minibus-taxi incentive programme – which, on Monday October 29, went live with a parade of 150 branded minibus taxis through the city centre.
Since 2009, the municipality has been engaging with the leadership of the minibus-taxi and bus industries in an endeavour to bring these public-transport operators into a cohesive operation to provide safe, efficient and reliable transport. The aim has been to ensure that they continue to have a stake in public transport going forward.
The Ethekwini Metro Taxi Council (EMTC) – the leadership body of the minibus-taxi industry – has collaborated with the municipality to develop the Moja Cruise pilot programme to “test the waters” for an improved public-transport system. It was officially launched in October 2017.
The six-month Moja Cruise pilot programme includes 500 branded minibus-taxis. With 150 already enrolled in the programme, these minibus-taxis will adhere to certain criteria to offer a clean, safe, efficient, customer-oriented service to the public.
The vehicles will be monitored to ensure that these criteria are met and therefore qualify for a financial incentive. The number of taxis will increase to 6 000 once the pilot has been assessed and the full adoption of the programme is approved.
The passenger fees of the branded taxis will not differ from those of non-branded taxis, and they will continue to operate in their licensed routes. Commuters will eventually be able to rate their trips in a Moja Cruise taxi, to ensure that the relevant criteria is being met by the taxi owner and driver.
eThekwini Mayor, Councillor Zandile Gumede, commented: “It goes without saying that accountability and compliance are vital in order to move forward with public transport, as an improved customer-focused service means better business and stimulation for the economy. The more we can drive the economy forward to create opportunities, the better it will be for the citizens of this country.”
Chairperson of the eThekwini Metro Taxi Council, B M Nzuza, added: “Being experienced public-transport operators, we understand and acknowledge the need for a more customer-orientated service.
“By working in collaboration with the eThekwini Municipality, we have been able to offer our expertise and understanding in a consultative and collaborative process, to find positive and workable solutions to the challenges faced by all parties.”
Gumede concluded: “Both the National and KwaZulu-Natal Departments of Transport will be monitoring the progress of this innovative programme to bring the minibus-taxi sector into the fold, and we have great hopes that it will significantly shift the current public-transport offerings to our citizens and act as a model that could be rolled out around the country.”