Minibus taxis driving along Christiaan Barnard Street from the taxi rank. PICTURE: WILLEM LAW.
Minibus taxis driving along Christiaan Barnard Street from the taxi rank. PICTURE: WILLEM LAW.

Technology service provider plans to revive the taxi industry with a digital approach

By Murphy Nganga Time of article published Nov 30, 2021

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Cape Town - With the pandemic disrupting business across all sectors, Taxi Association Management Service (TAMS) aims to revive the taxi industry with a technological approach by making the costs of public transport affordable and technologically accessible to everyone.

The technology service provider will look to change the narrative about the South African taxi industry through automating the back office of the taxi association, automating taxi levy collection by the taxi associations, streamlining demand management, and managing databases of all stakeholders of the taxi association i.e. owners, drivers, taxi marshalls and taxis.

TAMS founder Manyowa Nong said that the taxi industry is an important part of society, and quite often, their stories are not told.

Through this initiative, he aims to transform the industry to adapt to the digital era economy that is rapidly approaching.

“There are a number of good stories that happen in the industry that go unreported, like how the industry deployed their resources to protect our country's economic infrastructure like malls during the July Riots. Often, people come to approach them for help when they don't have money to travel to school or their place of work, and that is one part of the soul of the industry not often talked about.”

“Although the industry transports over 75% of commuters in this country, it also contributes significantly to the tax base through direct and indirect taxation like VAT, fuel Levies, and income tax. With this, the industry still generates their income from a single source and owns a little of their value chain. Hence, we are on a mission to drive the digital transformation of the public transport industry in South Africa and possibly expand it to the entire continent,” said Nong.

With the taxi industry in Cape Town facing various obstacles, taxi owner Sizwe Mndabela sees the TAMS initiative as a way of restoring trust and strength in the taxi industry, especially in Cape Town.

“The taxi industry faces challenges such as inequality, and also not being given the recognition it deserves. As much as the industry plays a big role in the transport sphere in South African townships, there are things that hinders the industry to operate fully and effectively, especially here in Cape Town.”

“One I could think of is that there are no permits available, and this results in our vehicles being impounded. Another challenge is route sharing. As much as plans are being made, the turmoil amongst taxi drivers continues. In house challenges also include hunger for power and jealousy amongst one another. We see it happening where, if one sees the other driver is thriving, one will want to take them out. This, unfortunately, hinders the integrity of the service we give to clients and our reputation.”

“With that being said, the TAMS initiative would really help with regaining the trust of the taxi industry, and it would help strengthen it because some people have lost confidence in the taxi industry due to the service, treatment, respect and safety. So, if there would be a way to reach out to the taxi industry, and one could share their views, and on where we could fix things, this initiative is a good way to start,” Mndabela.

Weekend Argus

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