The Phoenix Taxi Association (PTA) has announced that Avanza operators in Phoenix will no longer operate as of Wednesday, 31 July. This comes after it was concluded at a recent meeting that Avanza operators in Phoenix had no legal jurisdiction to operate in the Phoenix area and provide a transportation system without a valid operating license.

The Phoenix Taxi Association vice chairman, Vijay Singh said the decision was undertaken at a meeting held at the Durban North police station in June, where all relevant stakeholders including the PTA, Metro Police, Department of Transport, Santaco, greater north region, SAPS and members representing the Avanza operators were present.

“A subsequent meeting at the Phoenix police station on 16 July, also involving all relevant stakeholders, it was clearly outlined that only bona fide operators of the PTA will conduct transport operations and that Avanza operators must cease operations as of 31 July 2019. Law enforcement authorities, SAPS, and the Metro Police have given an undertaking that they will act against the Avanza operators, based on them having no legal standing or authority to operate a transportation operation in the greater north area of the eThekwini Municipality,” said Singh.

He said the clean up process was happening in many regions throughout the north. “The PTA is a legitimate body registered under the auspices of the Department of Transport together with the bus operators in the area, they are the only two recognised and authorised transport bodies in the area. It must be mentioned that some Avanza operators have metered cab permits but these do not allow them to take loads out of a 50km radius, based on operating as a cab hire. The PTA is compelled to act against all illegal operators who are jeopardising a legal operation from performing its function,” said Singh.

Singh said that the National Land Transport Act (NLTA) outlined a system for the old minibus operation to be converted to larger vehicles and in time form part of the well documented BRT system which is due to open its Pinetown route soon. He said the PTA apologises to the commuters of Phoenix but also assures them that the PTA will ensure that transport will be provided to their various destinations.

“The PTA would also like to take this opportunity to guide Avanza operators on the paying of protection fees to ganglords and other taxi associations. The payment of these fees are illegal and have been reported to the relevant authorities. These operators are advised to deal with their issues through a constructive dialogue process with the relevant authorities.”

A commuter, Ramona Singh said, “The community is greatly affected and concerned as the taxi service in Phoenix is pathetic. We get bad experiences while travelling with taxis (public transport) in general – we use public transport when necessary and it is a nightmare, we cannot imagine using it on a daily basis. Taxis do not operate after certain hours, so in this case, what happens to employees working odd hours of the night? Passengers will not be picked up and dropped off at the required destination as taxis have set stops – this will greatly affect majority of the employees working odd shifts.

“Passengers that travel with Avanzas pay on a month end basis, what is going to happen in this case? Many consider taking taxis unsafe because in most cases, the drivers are under the influence of drugs/ alcohol or the vehicles are not roadworthy. To add to the issues commuters experience, there have been videos of violent behaviour by conductors circulating, which further proves that passengers using public transportation are unsafe. It is our right to choose the mode of transport to travel with,” added Singh.

For further information, contact the PTA on 031 500 8713, Greater North Transport on
031 309 1498 or the Department of Transport on 033 341 9500/ 033 341 9501.