Taxi chaos at Swakopmund

Isaac Chikosi

Long- and medium distance taxi drivers using the area adjacent to Riteway Service Station in Nelson Mandela Avenue and Engen Service Station Truck-port in Sam Nujoma Drive in Swakopmund continue to cause a public commotion. That includes harassing clients at these service stations and disrupting the smooth flow of traffic whilst looking for clients.

These taxis that travel between Swakopmund and Windhoek/Otjiwarongo are allegedly not only only registered taxis but also private vehicles.
Recently, complaints received by the Namib Times prompted an inquiry into the matter. The only conclusion is compounded lawlessness, illegal loading zones and the public gets harassed as taxi drivers jostle for passengers as they arrive.
For individuals wishing to take a taxi out of Swakopmund, these individuals are met with boisterous and aggressive taxi operators who do anything to persuade possible clients to fill their cars.
Namib Times witnessed a scuffle including half a dozen men some of whom are not taxi operators, but who are tasked to jostle for passengers. The newspaper saw a man grabbing a woman’s bag and then simply locked it in the taxi’s boot. The taxi is unregistered and with the bag locked in the car the woman had no option other than to make use of the services of this unregistered taxi.
During a telephonic interview with Municipality Traffic Chief, Melvin Cloete, he reiterated the fact that many of these operators are unlicensed and have been warned and removed from these premises before, however, once the police leave, they return and continue business as usual.
“Most of them do not have permits as Roads Authority stopped issuing taxi permits”, he said. With regards to the illegal operating taxis, Cloete explained that, “we have a big taxi rank that can accommodate everyone, but it appears some taxi operators do not listen. We have consulted with Nampol and they have agreed that long and medium distance taxis operating without permits will be stopped and charged”.
Cloete added that, “it is important to educate the public and encourage them to make use of the official taxi rank and licensed taxi vehicles to ensure their safety when travelling”. The acting president for Namibia Bus and Taxi Association (NABTA) Mr Jeffrey Platt mentioned on Wednesday when reports of the troublesome taxi operators reached his desk, “we will not fold our hands, will intervene swiftly to help remedy the situation”.

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