TRANSPORT: MyCiTi's Payback To Taxi Operators
Recent Western Cape Business News
The City of Cape Town is honouring its committment to compensate minibus-taxi operators directly affected by the roll out of the MyCiTi bus services. Directly affected operators are those whose services are to be replaced by MyCiTi services and who, in exchange for compensation, agree to cancel their operating licences for specific routes and surrender their vehicles.
Certain minibus-taxi operators, affiliated to the Kidrogen vehicle operating company who are affected by the existing MyCiTi services in the Table View area, approached the City for early exit compensation (EEC). The City agreed to pay EEC but only where there was an oversupply of vehicles on a route, where operators have approached the City, where they have agreed to exit the industry, and where the relevant vehicle operator company supports such early payment.
Final compensation would normally be paid when a particular MyCiTi milestone is reached and a specific number of minibus-taxis are required to be surrendered.
While the process of paying EEC has started, to date 29 minibus-taxi operators – who hold 35 operating licences between them – have elected to take up EEC, out of a group of 88 operators in total. These operators have received their payment and surrendered their vehicles, with the process still underway.
Each operator is compensated for the number of affected licences they hold. Only three of the above-mentioned 29 operators are leaving the industry because they only hold single operating licences. In all other cases thus far, the operators who have been compensated elected to surrender only one or two of their multiple operating licences thus still holding licences for some of their original routes.
The City is finalising the processing of EEC for Blaauwberg Taxi Association, Ysterplaat Taxi Association and Maitland Taxi Associations. It is expected to be completed by end of this year.
Frank Qotyiwe, taxi owner and secretary of the Dunoon Taxi Association, had part of his business affected when the existing MyCiTi routes started operating. He is one of those who have taken EEC.
“We are satisfied with the EEC, because it was an offer based on the survey results of what our businesses were actually worth,” he said.
Some taxi owners are using the EEC to start other businesses. However, Mr Qotyiwe plans to invest in Kidrogen and work for the company. “I’m looking forward to reaping the dividends,” he said.
Taxi owners in Dunoon had feared losing their businesses, when they first heard about MyCiTi. “Our fears were overcome by engaging with the process,” he said. “What assisted us was that the association works well. The delegates to the negotiating process report back to all the taxi owners, and we reached agreement by consensus. We were accountable and listened to every member, and the City and the association engaged (on this process)”.
“We are now negotiating for the 12-year vehicle operating contracts and we’ve got far to go, but we feel very happy now, because there are a lot of things we didn’t previously understand about how the system will work, which became clear little bit by little bit,” he said.
“My message to other taxi associations is, don’t say you don’t want MyCiTi. Start learning about it, and if you’re not happy, reveal it. You can’t stay out of this process, because it’s a process driven by national government as well as the City and it is going to happen. It can work for you.”
People in Dunoon are very interested in MyCiTi, he said. “There has been a lot of engagement by the City here, and the community prefers the project to the current public transport system. They want it, they really do.”
“We welcome the very constructive partnership we have forged with the taxi operators as we begin rolling out the permanent milestones of the new service. We value their commitment to a new era of transport despite the huge impact for them. This process of paying out the early exit compensation marks a significant step in the IRT project programme and is an important component of industry transition” added Cllr Brett Herron, Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Roads and Stormwater.
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