Monday, 29 October marked a watershed moment for public transport in eThekwini Municipality, as the city’s mini-bus taxi incentive programme ‘Moja Cruise’, a first for the country, went ‘live’ with a parade of 150 branded taxis through the city centre.
As part of the transformation of public transport, the municipality started the construction of road infrastructure in its efforts to integrate public transport into a network of eight bus rapid transit lanes and a rail route across the city in its GO!Durban programme. As part of this programme, and prior to beginning construction in 2013, the City leadership, since 2009, has been engaging with the leadership of the mini-bus taxi and bus industry in an endeavour to bring these current public transport operators into a cohesive operation to provide safe, efficient and reliable transport for all. The aim has always been to ensure that they continue to have a stake in public transport into its transformation.
The Ethekwini Metro Taxi Council (EMTC), the leadership body of the mini-bus taxi industry, and the city have collaborated to develop this innovative pilot programme to ‘test the waters’ for improved public transport system.
Essentially the pilot programme includes 500 mini-bus taxis that will be branded as Moja Cruise taxis, with 150 taxis already enrolled in the programme. These 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 in order to qualify for the financial incentive.
READ ALSO: GO!Durban project continues on track
Commenting on its collaboration with the city, chairman of the EMTC, BM Nzuza said, “Being experienced public transport operators, we understand and acknowledge the need for a more customer-orientated service that meets the needs of the commuters. By working in collaboration with 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 that we face as businesses and they as government. We all look forward to seeing the programme work, and to an improved service and business model for our constituents.”
The pilot programme will run for six months and will include 500 vehicles. The number of taxis will increase to 6,000 once the pilot is assessed and council approves the full adoption of the programme. The fees for trips in the taxis, will not differ from that of non-branded taxis, and they will continue to operate in their licensed routes as per usual. For more information, visit www.godurban.co.za.
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