Alexandra commuters on Monday were outraged after two Johannesburg taxi associations announced price hikes due to take effect from next week.
The Alexandra, Randburg, Midrand, Sandton Taxi Association (Armsta), which operates one of the city’s busiest routes, said its decision to charge Alexandra commuters R30 for a trip to Sandton was due to the COVID-19 regulations imposed on the industry by government, particularly the 70% passenger loading capacity.
With many households across the country facing economic uncertainty, commuters will bear the brunt of the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on public transport.
Hlompang Mokoena, a security guard at Sandton City, said that his entire salary would go towards his transport if the fare increase was implemented.
Mokoena pleaded with government to find a middle ground with the taxi industry.
“Most of my income will now go towards transport. R30 for a single trip will be R60 for a return trip. This will affect us a lot and the government should help us,” he said.
Cecilia Ngubeni, a domestic worker, said that she returned to work last week after nearly two months of no income.
“They [taxi operators] don’t even think about us, they think about themselves. How can they increase the fares by more than 50%?”
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula was expected to meet with the taxi industry. However, if the situation can not be resolved, the ministry will be compelled to recommend the matter to the Competition Commission.