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Metro addresses IPTS concerns at Western Suburbs Taxi Association meeting

May 19, 2017
Metro addresses IPTS concerns at Western Suburbs Taxi Association meeting

The Western Suburbs Taxi Association (WESTA) on Thursday invited Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Municipality’s MMC for Roads and Transport, Cllr Rano Kayser, to a special general meeting in order to get an understanding of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that the Metro entered into with taxi associations for the roll-out of the Integrated Public Transport System (IPTSservice known as Libhongolethu.

A number of taxi operators and their associations, like WESTA, felt that information regarding the IPTS was filtered and in other instances - not forthcoming, when not distorted.

At the meeting, Kayser unpacked the provisions of the MOA for the better understanding of its contents by the taxi operators.

He outlined the provisions of the MOA which were flanked by the financial commitments from the Metro which, amongst others, included the payment of legal counsel and a transport specialist for the taxi industry – both of whom have been chosen by the taxi industry organisations at the regional level.

"This is to ensure that during our discussions as the Metro and the taxi industry - we do not have an edge above you with our own legal counsel and transport specialists - we negotiate on an equal footing," Cllr Kayser described.

"The Metro has also committed to supporting the associations who have entered into the MOA with remuneration for office support in terms of administration, co-ordinating and hosting their members to provide feedback and to compensate those members who sit at IPTS meetings whilst those they represent at those meetings – are on the road, making money."

The input by the members of WESTA was equally well received by the MMC and he addressed their concerns regarding their fears of being unsuccessful in the provision of the Libhongolethu service after the initial 15 years of operation.

The other concerns raised were the consequences if they opted not wish to participate in the programme.

Kayser assured the members of WESTA of the Metro's commitment in ensuring that the operators will be capacitated to run this service through ongoing training and empowerment. 

Adv Fezile Gaushe, Head of Industry Transition and Empowerment at the IPTS, reminded the taxi operators that public transport was a government prerogative and a service deliverable which it wishes to execute in partnership with the taxi industry. 

"The roads infrastructure and maintenance are a government responsibility hence the permits the taxi operators hold - are regulated by government and issued by government at its discretion," he said.

"Government has taken a decision that the public is a priority and have to be availed a safe, reliable and affordable service. Any entity that does not subscribe to those principles might encounter problems with operating in public transportation in the future."

The taxi operators welcomed the various empowerment initiatives that the Metro has embarked on that are favourable to the taxi industry - from the upgrading of the driving licences of the taxi drivers from light passenger vehicles to heavy duty vehicles.

They also applauded the inclusion not only of taxi drivers – but also of taxi conductors and rank marshalls in the IPTS service.

"What is important to us as the Metro are the empowerment aspects of the IPTS - which enable every permit holder to be a shareholder of the Libhongolethu," Cllr Kayser.

"The Metro will not accept any other model of ownership of the IPTS unless each and every permit holder that belongs to an association that participates in the IPTS - is a shareholder with a shareholding certificate."