Hammanskraal taxi commuters shut down CBD in protest

Teaser: Taxi drivers and community members want the metro to stop an agreement that prevents taxis from entering the CBD.

Taxi commuters from Hammanskraal marched to Tshwane house on Monday, demanding that taxis from their township be allowed into the Pretoria CBD.

Community members, supported by taxi drivers, marched to Tshwane House on Monday followed by hundreds of taxis.

The march’s convenor, Thabo Tshesane, said they want the metro to review an agreement signed by local taxi associations and the city, preventing taxis from operating beyond Wonderboom from the Hammanskraal area.

Thesane said the Hato, Seta and Ghsta taxi associations signed the agreement with the metro that taxis will no longer drive into the CBD. It forms part of the metro’s plan to alleviate traffic congestion in the area.

“We want a review of this agreement which emerged as the metro officially opened the A Re Yeng bus route from Wonderboom to town,” said Tshesane.

“Commuters have a right to choose alternative transport modes – be it taxi, bus or train,” he said.

He said the arrangement of taxi drivers dropping off passengers at Wonderboom and them having to buy a ticket to board Are Yeng buses to get to town is too costly and time-consuming.

“In the end, our people must suffer the consequences because they often get to work late, and some of them have lost jobs as a result of this arrangement,” he said.

According to the operation plan signed by the metro and some taxi associations, taxi routes would halt at the Wonderboom Areyeng bus station.

The buses would then take commuters from there into the city.

Residents of Hammanskraal, Stinkwater Eersterust and Ga-Mokone Hammanskraal Stinkwater taxi associations have been affected by the situation, said general secretary of the concerned group, Boitumelo Senokoane

“The taxi owners, and not the taxi drivers and commuters, have colluded with the city on a decision that is punishing commuters,” he said.

The Tshwane metro recently opened A Re Yeng Line 1A route from Molefe Makinta Station, opposite Paul Kruger Square, to Rainbow Junction Station, opposite the Wonderboom train station.

Senokoane said they will give the metro seven days to review the decision, and if not they will return to Tshwane House in two weeks to “shut down the city”.