Crackdown on taxis causing traffic jams

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith says said many taxi drivers do not have a licence, a roadworthy vehicle or a permit to carry passengers.

Lansdowne police, the community police forum, City Law Enforcement and the neighbourhood watch have cracked down on lawless taxis causing congestion in the area.

They held a joint operation from Wetton Circle, the corner of Jan Smuts Drive and Turfhall Road, and then between Wetton Road and Dolphin Way, on Tuesday February 22, from 5am to 9am.

Resident Hilton Hermanus said the community had complained frequently to City Law Enforcement about taxi drivers violating traffic laws and causing tailbacks from 7am to 8am.

Taxi drivers had no respect for the road or other motorists and “flew over” speed bumps.

Lansdowne police, the community police forum, law enforcement, and the neighbourhood watch held a joint operation to curb traffic congestion caused by lawless taxis.

Lansdowne Community Police Forum chairman Rafique Foflonker said that on Wetton Road, between the bridge and Kenwyn; the Jan Smuts intersection; and the Turfall Road intersection taxi drivers drove on the wrong side of the road, up a one-way and over traffic cones, and they stopped in the road, without putting on their hazards, to pick up or drop off passengers. A handful of taxi drivers gave the rest a bad name, he added.

While the traffic operation on Tuesday had seen a “huge improvement” in traffic flow, it, and other once-off operations like it, was not enough to solve the problem, he said.

“Our wish is that available auxiliary law enforcement and traffic officers and SAPS reservists continue to help us to come up with a plan to sustain this every day.“

Lansdowne Community Police Forum chairman Rafique Foflonker says a handful of taxi drivers give the rest a bad name.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said taxi drivers ignored stop streets, drove on the side of the road, threatened other road users, intimidated passengers and other taxi drivers, and failed to indicate. And many did not have a permit to carry passengers, a licence or a roadworthy vehicle.

“All of this makes it difficult to access the City west- and east-bound from Lansdowne, and while we have regular traffic-controlling measures, we cannot do it every day. We don’t have the resources. We hope to expand traffic services on the road after July when our new budget kicks in,” he said.

Lansdowne SAPS spokesman Sergeant Nkululeko Mnyaka said that taxis driving on Wetton Road towards Wynberg and Turfhall Road to Claremont caused huge traffic congestion as they did not follow traffic rules. He said they would drive following each other on the yellow line or block the traffic to allow each other to pass while motorists stood still.

“The joint operation will continue to clamp down on this kind of behaviour as traffic officers will issue fines and check for outstanding warrants as the residents are very frustrated and in despair with this situation. However, partnerships with other security agencies will curb this behaviour,” he said.

Mr Foflonker thanked taxi drivers who obeyed the rules of the road.

“Taxis are an essential service to the community as they commute residents to and from work everyday,” he said.

Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association spokesman Nkululeko Sityebi said they condemned lawlessness from their drivers and supported and respected residents.

“Every association has their own rules and regulations and a constitution of the route which drivers must stick to. At the moment, we have not received any complaints,” he said.