Taxi operators warn of fare increases

Thursday, November 3, 2011

East London - East London taxi owners are warning commuters that they will soon have to pay higher taxi fares following the fourth petrol price increase in four months.

Mdantsane and Long Distance Transport Association head Mxolisi Sontshantsha said the 23 cents a litre increase in the petrol price has hit taxi owners hard.

"With the petrol going up over and over again, we will be forced to up taxi fares. We know commuters won't take the news very well, but we have no choice," said Sontshantsha.

The latest petrol price increase has brought the price per litre of petrol to its highest since 2008.

Sontshantsha said he could not understand why government did not consult the taxi associations before increasing the petrol price.

"We are the most important stakeholders when it comes to petrol, because we fill up every day. Now we will have to fight with the commuters when we increase the taxi fare," added Sontshantsha.

Taxi owner Anne July said the price increases were giving her sleepless nights as it was becoming increasingly difficult to pay the R8 500 installments on her taxi when she has to pay R800 a day for a full tank of petrol.

"The money we get from taxi fares is not enough to pay all our expenses. We got rid of our Siyayas (minibuses) and the government forced us to buy Quantums and Avanzas," said July.

Eastern Cape Border Kei Chamber of Business chairperson Les Holbrook said consumers will only feel the full effect of the petrol price hikes at the end of the year when the knock-on effect results in an increase in food and accommodation prices.

"The paraffin price will increase as well. People in the rural areas and informal settlements will feel the increase the most," said Holbrook.

The retail petrol price increased by 23 cents a litre and diesel by 36 cents a litre at midnight on 1 November.