Taxi industry reacts to fuel price hike

SABC News petrol pumpRichard brooks - Taxi industry reacts to fuel price hike

The latest fuel price hike has had commuters hoping that the announcement was an early April’s fool’s joke. But reality is sinking in as the day of the increase gets closer.

Taxi drivers in Johannesburg have raised concerns on the upcoming price hike.  The taxi industry is a major player in the country’s transport industry.

Millions of South Africans rely on this mode of transport, but the latest fuel price hike might cause a domino-effect of price hikes, making monthly budgets for commuters vulnerable.

From Wednesday April 3 drivers based in coastal provinces will pay R15,49c a litre and it will be R16,13 per litre for inland provinces.

Taxi owners and drivers say this will cripple their business. They say the only option left for their survival – is to increase fare prices.

A taxi driver Bonginkosi Sithole says: “A lot of people are no longer employed so we don’t have as many customers anymore. So it’s better that the petrol price goes down so that we are not forced to also increase fares.”

Mahlatse Maseko, a taxi marshal, says: “The increase will affect taxi fares and at this rate it will lead us in the taxi industry to come together and see what we can do.”

Driver Mbudziseni Gelebe operates his taxi from Johannesburg to Venda. The long distance driver says there are chances he will be operating at a loss, once the increase takes effect.

“The problem is the tollgate for example is R500 and a full tank is R1700 and then you pay instalment of the taxi between R17 and 19 000. So when the petrol increases we are forced to also increase the fares others we will have our cars repossessed.”

Those against the increment say they are surprised at the timing of the latest fuel prices

Petrol Must Fall Movement’s Visvin Reddy says: “If you introduce a wealth tax on monopoly industry you will be able to remove the taxes from fuel and that will immediately see a reduction of 40% in our costs and we must warn government. We are warning the ANC government that fuel prices can have a direct impact on elections.

I cannot believe that a government that will want people to vote for it in a month’s time is increasing fuel, electricity, vat, water is doing all this before an before an election.”

Diesel will rise by between 82 and 83 cents a litre and illuminating paraffin will climb by 63 cents per litre.

LP Gas will jump to R1.71 per kilogram.


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