Cape taxi drivers putting their pay cheques in passengers' hands in new project to improve taxi industry
Around 1,000 Western Cape taxi drivers are putting their money where their driving skills are and opening themselves up to scrutiny from their passengers.
From Saturday, the drivers have embarked on a government-initiated project that will allow commuters to go online and rate them on their driving, whether they follow the rules of the road and whether they keep to the taxi capacity allowed.
The project is known as the 'Blue Dot' taxi pilot and is aimed at improving the taxi industry in the province.
“The project is an incentive scheme to reward improved minibus taxi driving behaviour and service quality, while reducing the risk of illegal operations and violent conflict,” said the provincial department of transport.
Taxi drivers and operators who signed up for the project have had to have their vehicles and documents verified. They then underwent a training programme and had their vehicles fitted with trackers and the department’s branding to alert community members that they were taking part in the initiative.
Commuters will be able to rate their drivers anonymously using their cellphones.
To rate a blue dot taxi commuters are required to dial *134*3047# for free or WhatsApp “Hi” to 073 249 2152 with the taxi's unique number, which can be found on the outside of the vehicle and on the posters inside the vehicle. They will then be asked several questions and submit their responses.
“Operators will then be monitored by the department and rewarded for good performance. The better the performance, the higher the reward,” the department said.
The department of transport, which said it had the backing of Santaco’s (SA National Taxi Council) provincial branch and the eight provincial taxi associations, said it was hoping to encourage even more drivers to sign up.