Paper presented at the 33rd Annual Southern African Transport Conference 7-10 July 2014 "Leading Transport into the Future", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa.
In March 2007, Cabinet approved a Public Transport Strategy. It described two ‘pillars’.
The first pillar was ‘modal upgrading’ - the introduction of significant improvements in
current public transport services. The second pillar envisaged longer-term implementation
of high quality integrated public transport networks.
The Department of Transport has recently stated that although emphasis has been placed
on the second pillar, there is an urgent need to also focus on the first pillar, ie modal
It said that modal upgrading interventions are necessary if the current public transport
service environment is to be stabilised. The three modes of public transport are rail, bus
Rail upgrading is being addressed by PRASA way of a large-scale recapitalisation
The upgrading of the bus mode is the subject of a review of the subsidy system. These
two modes are operated by formal sector entities. By contrast, the taxi is in the informal
sector. Its business and operating practices are quite different from those of the formal
sector. There will be a need for an intermediate stage in the transition of the taxi industry
to the formal sector.
This paper suggests that the right approach will be to encourage, facilitate and, where
necessary, require taxi operators to make the transition to what we can call the semiformal
sector of the public transport business. The appropriate legal structure is the
cooperative. Taxi operators may be reluctant to move from their present comfort zone into
this new structure. There will be a need for both a ‘carrot’ and a ‘stick’.
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