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VIDEO: Taxi driver recklessness: bad behaviour or just poor traffic control

Mar 31, 2017
VIDEO: Taxi driver recklessness: bad behaviour or just poor traffic control

Speeding, jumping red robots, obstructing traffic, riding the yellow line, illegal turns, stops and parking – or just plain reckless driving, has become a common occurrence on Nelson Mandela Bay roads. And it is taxi drivers, who top the list.

RNEWS talked to some of Port Elizabeth’s taxi drivers, commuters and the Metro about this problem.

While several taxi drivers admitted to breaking traffic laws, they said they are forced to because they usually have only a limited number of trips in which to meet their daily targets; others blamed commuters for rushing them, and some also blamed the Metro for not having enough lanes and facilities that cater for the taxi industry.

For example, in front of the Boardwalk, in Summerstrand, the dedicated bus stop is a few meters away from where commuters actually need to board town-bound taxi and buses. The result, taxis stop in front of the Boardwalk - effectively blocking off one lane, right after the intersection. 

Another area is at the main taxi rank where Korsten-bound taxi's often block off that section of Govan Mbeki Avenue.

WATCH all the reckless driving by taxi drivers, captured by our cameras in just a few days:

RNEWS spoke to Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Communications and Media Management Officer, Mthubanzi Mniki, about bad behavior on our roads.

"We do, as a municipality, enforce traffic by-laws; fortunate enough, just on Wednesday, we witnessed the pass out parade of another 109 Metro police officers," he said. 

"They are going to be strictly focuused on enforcing our by-laws, which includes ensuring that all drivers are abiding by the traffic rules. They are going to be out every hour, every day, dealing with such crimes and offences in conjuction with the South African Police Services (SAPS)."

Mniki said that while the Nelson Mandela Bay Traffic Department used to enforce local traffic laws, it did not have enough officers to handle the number of transgressions that occur throughout the Metro - a challenge that has been solved with the introduction of the Metro Police Force. 

"Several of these new Metro Police officers, have been specifically trained to handle traffic violations and we are hoping that our efforts to create a safer city will bear fruits," he said.

Asked about the taxi drivers blaming the Metro for not having enough facilities or adequate lanes for them, Mniki said that there is no justification whatsoever about breaking the law and those found guilty, will have to face the consequences. 

"However, in the medium to long term, there are plans to roll out the Intergrated Public Transport System (IPTS), where there will be dedicated lanes; dedicated bus stops and dedicated taxi stops and other facilities," he said.

"In the meantime, lets all be patient and lets all adhere to the law."

Mniki said that a team, led by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Mayoral Committee Member for Roads and Transport, Cllr Rano Kayser, has been engaging the local taxi industry on the roll out of the IPTS and has made good progress.

"The local taxi operators are at the centre of the implementaion of the IPTS," he described. 

"I cannot as yet give you a definite date as to when we will see the launch of the IPTS as we are still continuing with interactions and consultations about how to implement it. So, we are appealing for everyone's patience as we engage and negotiate with all the stakeholders. 

"Still, we are not going to negotiate forever;  we have to deliver on this project and have strict deadlines from national government in relation to the funds that they have allocated to us. Even the local taxi operators are aware of that and will not want to be left behind by the developments happening in the Metro."