The Transport Education and Training Authority has launched a R2,2-million project to provide taxi drivers and operators with skills to lift professionalism in the industry and lower road accidents. Will it work?

The Transport Education and Training Authority (Teta) has launched a R2,2-million project to provide taxi drivers and operators with skills to lift professionalism in the industry and lower road accidents. Will it work?

reported that 450 candidates, selected in consultation with taxi organisations in Gauteng, would be provided with skills in business administration, customer care techniques and professional driving.

Teta said at the launch in Soweto on Monday that 180 people would be part of a business administration programme, 180 would do professional driver courses while 90 would be taught customer care techniques.

Teta chief executive officer Piet Bothma said the training was vital as 62 per cent of the country’s commuters used taxis daily. He also said that 141 taxis were involved in fatal accidents and 186 passengers and drivers lost their lives in December 2002 alone. “Our research has shown that besides poor driving skills, customer care, business management and administration abilities are also sadly lacking,” said Bothma.

South African transport parliamentary committee chairperson Jeremy Cronin said the taxi industry needed to be reformed further. "The taxi industry is still in crisis and we cannot afford to run away from this, there is still lack of investment and underdevelopment.

"It is unfortunate that I cannot say at this point we are starting with the taxi recapitalisation process in three weeks' time, I wish I could. The sights remains promising and we will soon see the beginning of a massive contingency fund for the taxi recapitalisation programme," said Cronin.

South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) president Thomas Muofhe said the training assistance would help change the industry. "I want to call on the public to assist us in transforming this industry by informing us where we go wrong."

CARtoday.com reported last week that the KwaZulu Transport Department initiated a similar project involving the taxi industry in road safety to help reduce the high rate of road deaths.

About 150 taxi drivers and 150 taxi owners received training in road safety and business development management skills. “Through this scheme, we want to change the mindset of some of our taxi operators who still do not value the lives of their customers,” said KwaZulu-Natal transport MEC S’bu Ndebele.

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