By Donna Collins
A milestone relationship between the Swakopmund Municipal Traffic Department and the taxi industry was cemented this week, when the first registration numbers were allocated to taxi operators, paving the way forward for a new efficient system.
Senior Swakopmund traffic officer Trudie Xoagus, who is coordinating the taxi registration project, started the ball rolling on Monday afternoon. She told Confidente that this process has been a long time coming, as the identification of the growing number of taxis operating in town has been a thorn in the side of the traffic department.
Despite some logistical delays; they welcomed a positive turnout, with 10 municipal registered numbers allocated on the first day. The first number ‘S001’ was issued to Abner Niinkoti a taxi owner who turned up to the municipal traffic department registration centre with driver Festus Sheehama in their Toyota Corolla. They are members of the Swakopmund Taxi Committee.
Once traffic officers had checked and verified the engine and chassis number against the owner’s identification and other particulars, a disc number was allocated. This was followed by a fuss free sign writing process to duplicate the numbers in bold lettering which is positioned on the vehicle. The taxi registration process is set to run up to the end of October and is a free service provided by the Swakopmund Municipality.
“We want all operating taxis registered and identified, with the process up and running by the festive season,” said Xoagus, adding that the department has printed 300 stickers, guided by a ball park census figure from 2008 which revealed that there were over 200 taxis on the road.
“We will only determine the exact amount of taxis operating once the registration is complete, but they are fully on board with this system, and I am positive that it is going to change the face of the taxi business down at the coast,” continued Xoagus.
Complaints regarding taxis have reached an all time high, and with no identification in place the traffic department have little control on the bad road manners, illegal under aged drivers, pirate taxis, and in general drivers who continue to break the law.
And whilst the taxi registration process in Swakopmund trails behind Windhoek, the traffic department is making sure that their new method follows an efficient numerical system, bringing with it a sigh of relief to law enforcement officials and the public. “With the bulk of taxi operators registered through the traffic department, we can move ahead knowing that we have a proper structure in place, which will in future benefit all parties concerned,” added Xoagus.
She said that taxi drivers will take ownership of their numbers, so any unauthorised duplication will be easier to pick up, ultimately leading to the prevention of unlawful taxis. This good news was in the wake of a recent announcement by the Mayor of Swakopmund, Pauline Nashilundo, who confirmed that 300 registered taxis would be marked. m“This method will reduce illegal operations and eliminate illegal operators, whilst at the time, this exercise will also enable the town council to have a proper database of legal taxis on our roads,” she said.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015