MANY LIVES WILL BE SAVED BY NEW MINI-BUS TAXI SET-UP
The thousands of taxi passengers who annually lose their lives on South African roads will be greatly reduced by the implementation of the Taxi Recapitalisation Project that starts this year.
The Project which is being steered by the Department of Trade and industry, will see the replacement over a period of four years of all 126 000 of the existing mini-bus taxis operating in South Africa with purpose-built passenger 18-seater and 35-seater diesel-engine vehicles.
In one of the final processes before selecting specific manufacturers to supply the new vehicles, will be an exhibition of the products and services offered by shortlisted proposers selected from all the applicants that submitted proposals, and to which the users of taxi services along with drivers and operators are being invited to evaluate the vehicles and indicate their preference. With the aid of this information the final selection of proposers will be made.
The show is being held at the Kyalami Exhibition and Conference Centre at the Kyalami Race Track on Thursday, 27 January and Friday, 28 January. It will be open to the public from 09h30 in the morning to 17h00 in the afternoon and entry will be free. Each visitor will have the opportunity to inspect the vehicles and be taken on a demonstration drive. Thereafter there will be an opportunity to voice their opinions on the available choice.
Safety specifications for the new vehicles are high. They will conform to safety criteria laid down by the South African Bureau of Standards. These will include crash and rollover protection, seats with individual seatback, dual braking systems and exterior rear view mirrors. Drivers will also be isolated from passengers allowing them to perform the driving task unencumbered and with maximum visibility.
Larger vehicle capacities and greater passenger comfort will be supplemented with less waiting time for taxis - because they can take more passengers. There will be a lower risk of theft as payment of fares will be done with smart cards which obviates the need to carry cash for the journey. These cards will be multi-purpose and will soon allow users the opportunity to effect payment for shopping and other transactions.
Commuters will also be assured of the fact that the taxi they use, is properly maintained and serviced as the taxis will be fitted with electronic devices which will necessitate compulsory regular checks and servicing of the vehicles.
"The new taxis will provide commuters with much greater peace of mind, allowing them to conduct their normal work and leisure activities much more productively and enjoyably. We therefore urge all taxi users who can possibly get to Kyalami on 27 and 28 January for an hour or two to do so and to have a say in what taxis they will be getting to use in future".
The first of the new taxis will start appearing on South Africa's roads in October 2000 and all existing taxis will be replaced over the next four years.
For more media information contact Karin Pearce, Recapitalisation Project Manager, on 083 680 7031.
For exhibition information contact Pula Dippenaar on 082 448 2387, or Colin Horn on 012 310 9950.
Issued by the Department of Trade and Industry, 25 January 2000