Passengers wait to board taxis at the Joe Gqabi rank in Philippi. They have been assured that though the price in petrol has increased, the fares will stay the same. Picture: Jeffrey Abrahams
Taxi bosses are complaining that the annual trek from Cape Town to the Eastern Cape could leave them severely out of pocket because of the recent hefty fuel price increase.

The Department of Energy said the hike was because of higher international oil prices and the rand’s recent weakness against the dollar. In spite of the fact that long distance drivers will have to pay more for petrol the increase definitely won’t impact passengers.

Chairman of the Western Cape Long Distance Bus Association Ndodile Yekile said the knock-on effect would be severe as they could not increase prices.

“Commuters who will be travelling out of the province over the festive season and back need not worry about fare hikes. However, this will hurt us hard in our pockets. As soon as commuters heard about the increase they warned us not to even think of increasing taxi fare or they would opt for other modes of transport and we cannot afford that,” Yekile said.

Codeta spokesperson Andile Khanyi encouraged commuters to stick to their usual travelling budget as they had been an agreement between taxi bosses not to increase taxi fares.

“Our business is not subsidised by the government, so our business will be affected. The last time we increased the fares was three years back which is still currently R600. When transporting people to Eastern Cape we sometimes have to stop and refill the vehicles four times.

The Automobile Association of South Africa said motorists were not the only ones who would suffer, but also consumers and farmers. “The fuel price hike is the highest in more than a decade and would have a detrimental effect on motorists, consumers and farmers. The country is already experiencing the impact of the worst drought.”

Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Janine Myburgh said: “Taking into consideration the continuous escalation of costs, the economy is struggling. It affects the consumer badly as the costs are mostly absorbed by them.”

Cape Argus