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Taxi owners, hawkers, passengers say new Komani taxi rank will change their lives

Oct 26, 2019
Taxi owners, hawkers, passengers say new Komani taxi rank will change their lives

Komani - Komani Taxi owners, hawkers trading at the taxi rank and passengers say the brand new multi million taxi rank constructed by the Eastern Cape Department of Transport will change their lives for the better. 

The provincial Department of Transport injected R8.9 Million into the construction of this brand new taxi rank in pursuit of goal 2 of the Provincial Development Plan, aimed to develop enabling infrastructure network that promotes economic activity.

The new rank is the anchor of the Inter-Modal project started as an initiative to deal with the vast numbers of commuters passing through Komani with no formal transport facility in the city center at which commuters and various modes of transport could converge.

Speaking during the official opening of the Komani Taxi by Eastern Cape Premier, Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane, and Eastern Cape Transport, Safety and Liaison MEC, Weziwe Tikana Gxothiwe, Uncedo Taxi Association Chairperson, Sandi Mgobo, said the news taxi rank was a major boost of their business. 

“This taxi rank means a lot to us and it means the ANC led government considers our business. The new rank restores dignity of the passengers who will now use this dignified facility,” said Mgobo. 

Mgobo said the new rank will boost their taxi businesses because they now have a proper facility suitable for their business, catering for their passengers with a safe waiting room for passengers, a satellite Police station, a workshop which will sell tyres, car spares and service minibus taxis 

The new taxi rank provides a one stop shop public transport facility to the scores of local commuters, business opportunities to local hawkers and an emergency vehicle repairs center for local mechanics servicing taxis using the rank. 

“We will ensure safety and security of passengers because we depend on our passengers and if we will not priorities them we will kill our business. Because the rank will now work 24 hours seven days a week, they will find us here and we will maintain their safety so that they always find taxis to their destinations,” said Mgobo. 

Mgobo added that working together with the municipality they will introduce bylaws to maintain, keep the rank clean and safe with those breaching the bylaws penalized. 

The rank has 40 hawker facilities to be used by local traders plying their trade in the taxi rank. 

One of the local Hawkers, Mrs Noxolo Mapipa, who has been selling fruit and vegetables since 1998 welcomed the news facilities at the new taxi rank saying her businesses needed this boost.

“My previous stand was a shack and where we were moved business was slow but we tried. We have seen the new facilities and we see that our business will grow bigger than before. This is encouraging to me as a trader. I think because we will have more taxis and passengers, our business will boom,” said Mapipa, adding that her booming business will help her to continue her business. 

She said the new hawker stands with lockable units to keep thugs away and with each unit connected to electricity will help them include tea and coffee to their stock to sell to passengers who travelled over night from Guatemala and Western Cape. 

Twenty year old Mihlali Maluti, a local taxi passenger said the new rank will bring order into the taxi rank as passengers will be organized when catching their ride to destinations. 

“The new commuter waiting area and the security office in the rank will protect commuters from crime because there is a lot of crime in the area. The toilet facilities will come handy to passengers will now clean and safe facilities to relieve themselves,” said Maluti. 

Mrs Sylvia Naziwe Lali, who has been cleaning toilets in the old taxi rank called on  passengers who will use the new taxi rank to keep the toilets clean buy cleaning after using facilities. 

“The new toilets are nice and clean. We now have more units than the single toilet in the previous taxi rank. The increased numbers of toilets will be helpful to passengers and the public.The toilet in the old rank was broken and not working properly. Men are the ones who don’t clean after themselves after using toilets. I suspect that this could be because they don’t clean after themselves in their homes and they let their wives clean after them. I call on men to cooperate by keeping these facilities clean,” said Lali. 

Komani Taxi Rank to boost Enoch Mgijima Municipality

Tikana Gxothiwe said her department had a responsibility to ensure that public transport operators are safe, working in a safe environment to ensure safety of commuters and other motorists. 

“We are bringing a new element where taxi operators will have a mechanic to service their cars in the taxi rank when they need to be fixed, something which creates jobs for locals. Hawkers that were victims of bad weather will now have a better conditions for their trading. Commuters traveling over night and those who arrive late at night will now have a safe waiting area before they catch connecting ride to their destinations,” said Tikana Gxothiwe.  

Impressed by the economic boom potential that comes with the new facility, Mabuyane said government wanted to make sure that the taxi industry contributed to the province’s economic growth. 

“The new taxi rank will help improve the operations of the local taxi industry. Komani is a big city and it was bad that it did not have a taxi rank of this caliber for such a long time. “This is a new concept we are seeing here, the partnership between the department of Transport and the municipality.  We want to expand this model to other municipalities,” said Mabuyane. 

Mabuyane said delays in opening and handing over the facility resulted to it being vandalized. 

“We want the municipalities to ensure that the rank is operated properly. By doing this we want to make sure that the taxi industry makes its meaningful contribution to the economy because we know it is a big industry with good contribution to our economy and GDP. Our role as government is to create conducive environment for businesses to prosper. We are doing that here.

"Transport invested about R9 million and the Enoch Mgijima municipality availed the land. We want other municipalities to do something similar. Government will bring partnerships, working with municipalities to build such ranks in the local towns as part of small town revitalization,” said Mabuyane. 

He added when passengers using this will be traveling late at night they will now wait for public transport in safe conditions with the protection of the police officers that will be stationed at the satellite station occupying one of the offices at the new taxi rank. 

The rank, which will be used by 10 local taxi associations has public toilet facilities, trading facilities for hawkers, mechanic workshop to service minibus taxis, offices for the taxi associations, a waiting area with covering shelter for commuters waiting to catch a ride to their destinations. 

With Komani’s economic boom featuring construction of new malls, including the Lukhanji Mall that is a stone throw away from the rank, the new taxi rank will accommodate long-distance, medium-distance, local Taxis and Busses transporting locals to towns in and around Komani. 

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