Saturday, February 28, 2009

Stop the bus ( I mean taxis!)

The taxi industry has allways intrigued me. On the one hand they are dependant on
(some would say part of) the local people and constantly remind the public, of their unfortunate plight, in the face of governments efforts at regulating the industry. Here, so they say, they are the vulnerable victims of gross discrimination. They would even come close to paint themselves as an industry that has build itself up from scratch-literally from 'rags to riches'. If you come from the townships, you know how dependant you are on the taxis and taxi drivers. You get to know the drivers by name and by combi; even by the holes in the seats or the floor, by the oily odour and the coloured wires hanging from the dashboard. In a weird way your fellow communters, in 'your taxi' form a community of sorts.

Yet, on the other hand, this industry has consistently failed to weed out the criminal, vile currents, that lead to barbarous and deeply disturbing behaviour on the roads. Many a time these commuters would be found dead, lying somewhere in the wet mud, on the side of the highway, because of just another 'taxi accident'. The most recent horrific incident, caused the untimely death of a young school girl, Bernadine Kruger, who, as she made her way to school was crushed to death, by a taxi. We all at one point or the other witnessed how these thugs, skipped red traffic lights (I saw it today again and again !); how they race down the yellow-line, how they would switch between lanes, with no indicators, as they display absolutely no concern for their fellow-road users. I wonder, as I put on the breaks for another taxi, whether this behaviour is as a result of simply being arrogant or a case of being totally unfit for such a responsibility.

Be that as it may, I think it is in this light that the call for tougher action against criminal taxi-drivers and bosses makes perfect sense. These measures should be a deterant and public examples need to be made, espescially now in the case of the late Bernadine. Her cruel death should not be forgotten. But also, the measures to tighen up control of this industry, should be increased as well as the recapitalisation programme to clean up our road from this mess. Further, I also believe that stronger regulation of driver's legitimacy and competence, as well as mental and emotional composure, need to be put in place. Many of these drivers, who transport us and our workforce on a daily basis, seems to suffer from delusions of being a law unto themselves, the 'kings of the road'. They evidently may not be in kind of mental state, to whom such a responsibility is bestowed. And whether we like it or not, unless we rigorously address the carnage on this level, we will not be able to build safer roads for our children and young people to drive on their bike or scooter, or walk to school, but also,for our workforce, who are, on a daily basis, in the belly of this beast.
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Musings.....