A total of 558 registered taxis are currently operating in Swakopmund, a number which has unsettled authorities at the popular coastal town.
Senior Traffic Officer at the town, Trudie Xoagub, told Confidente that the proliferation of taxis was a major concern, taking into consideration the holiday town’s infrastructure.
Xoagub said the Municipality’s Traffic Services Department was not responsible for the issuing of taxi permits, as this was done by the Transportation Board (Roads Authority) based in Windhoek.
Responding to a question regarding the limiting or control of the number of taxis, Xoagub said the Swakopmund Traffic Services’ hands were tied as they were not the ones issuing the taxi permits.
“We try our utmost best to keep the situation under control and under the circumstances we are coping fairly, but the number of taxis in town is truly worrisome. It might be a good idea to put up satellite offices (for processing taxi permits) at the various towns,” she remarked.
It also came to light that some individuals are in possession of up to 10 taxi permits to operate in Swakopmund, as there was no limit in place on the number of taxi permits an individual can obtain.
Marjorie Cloete, from the Roads Authority, confirmed to Confidente that there was no limit on the number of taxis per person and noted that: “the Secretariat (RA) contacts the local authorities from time to time for their inputs regarding taxis in the town”.
Xoagub further noted that, in the light of recent reports of the duplication of taxi registration numbers in Windhoek, none of such incidents had been reported at Swakopmund yet, as they are keeping an eagle’s eye on the situation.
She further explained that on issuing the numbers to taxi owners, the Swakopmund Traffic Department urges the taxi owners to immediately report to them should they come across another taxi displaying the same number.
Other challenges that the Traffic Department experiences with taxi operators at Swakopmund mainly involve the usual disregard of traffic rules and regulations.
Xoagub urged public transport users to always have small change at hand when making use of taxi services, as some taxi drivers allegedly tell customers that they do not have change for a N$100 or N$200 bills and simply drive off with the customers’ money without giving them change.
In a recent incident involving a taxi driver, a client tried to withdraw money from an ATM to pay his taxi fare, but the machine was out of order. The taxi driver apparently saw the clients’ secret pin number when the (intoxicated) client typed it in and kept the clients bank card (for safety). They then drove off towards the town’s direction and on their way the taxi driver allegedly told the client to remove some obstacles in the road. When the client got out of the car, he sped off with the bank card and wallet.
The culprit was however caught on CCTV at the ATM and was apprehended the next day.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015