Taxis create their own parking dock

Taxis on Smit Street in Fairland park in a non-parking area and cause obstructions.

Residents are outraged that taxis park on the side of the road on Smit Street, Fairland.

Ward 98 Councillor Laurette van Zijl invited the City of Johannesburg Transport Department, the candidate councillor for Ward 98, Beverley Weweje and resident Amanda Borsby to inspect the illegal parking. They coincidentally met with one of the taxi patrollers from Faraday Taxi Association (FTA) who asked to stay anonymous but offered to give some answers.

Van Zijl said that the main problem is the traffic congestion the taxis cause, the litter that is left behind and public urination. “This is not a parking area, all these problems cause vagrants, hawkers and drug problems that lead to urban decay,” said Van Zijl.

A City of Joburg Transport Department representative, who also asked not to be named, said that they allocate a route and a taxi rank to the taxis, but they do not have control of where taxi drivers choose to park during the day, and it is the duty of metro Police to enforce bylaws. “There is a lot of development but not enough taxi ranks,” said the COJ representative.

A total of 366 unhappy residents signed a petition that will be sent to the City to deal with the taxi issue that has been going on for years.

Van Zijl said that taxi owners should assist in finding space for their taxis to park during the day. The taxi patroller from FTA said that the taxis that park at the Sasol garage opposite the park were given permission by the garage owner to use some of the space. Despite this, residents are still unhappy. “While the taxis are here, the least they can do is make it more bearable for the residents by leaving it clean,” said Borsby. She said that she has seen taxis being washed on the street and rubbish being thrown on the ground. “I have also seen a young woman get knocked by a car because of the traffic the taxis cause,” she said.

Residents are worried that the area is deteriorating and their property value will decrease.

The parties present agreed that within a month they will find an alternate space for the taxis to park. “For now, we are willing to give the taxi drivers refuse bags to keep the area clean,” said Borsby.

A representative of the Sasol Garage, who asked to stay anonymous, said that although no permission was formally given, they let the taxis park there because they have seen the situation with the traffic at the corner and this is their way of helping the community. “We are hoping everyone finds a peaceful resolution,” he concluded.

JMPD‘s Superintendent Edna Mamonyane said that she will fill in an inquiry for the officers in the area to investigate the matter, “Some taxi drivers claim to have permission to park there, we will investigate exactly where they got permission from,” said Mamonyane. She said that if it is illegal parking causing obstructions, the taxi drivers will get a fine of R1 000 and above.

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