- Authorities alleged to be turning blind eye
- Taxi use ungazetted areas as taxi ranks
- They obstruct business- especially in the old mall
- Allegations are that some taxis are owned by traffic cops
Some taxi operators in Maun have turned parking lots into taxi ranks, thereby causing congestion and blocking access to businesses in those areas. This further compounds other concerns about taxi operators that they are inconsiderate on the roads.
The situation seems to get worse by day and some pundits have raised concerns that the police seem to be reluctant to act and address the issue, with some alleging some taxis are owned by the same cops. This has since been dismissed by the police.
Business operators in those areas have opined that the obstruction caused by the taxi drivers in the mall sometimes restricts motorists who would come to access their services. Such motorists would then leave the place and never come back again.
A representative from Nandos said the congestion caused by taxis in front of their restaurant limits the number of customers coming to their restaurant.
She said their customers have also raised similar concerns with them explaining that occasionally they park their vehicles far away from their premises and therefore walking long distance to them. She explained that at sometimes their motorbike drivers get stuck in the congestion on their way to serve their customers.
Platinum Butchery representative also revealed that the issue affects their operations because the taxi drivers block the customers’ entry to the butchery. He stated that sometimes the customers opt to buy from other butcheries operating in the mall because they already know that if they come to their butchery they will be delayed by the congestion.
Afya Mzuri Family Care Clinic General Practitioner, Dr Kamabwe Mwamba is of the view that both the taxi drivers and private drivers cause congestion in the mall because the parking spaces are too small to accommodate many vehicles. He said in times of emergency it takes very long time to receive the patients because the parking areas will be flocked with many vehicles. Mwamba has explained that the issue needs both the council and other concerned parties to come up with a solution.
Meanwhile the department of transport and road safety (DRTS), Transport Officer Badibedi Abidile has explained that the taxi drivers through their association had approached council requesting for slots in malls so that they have access to passengers.
He said they were subsequently allocated 11 parking spots that are facing Nandos restaurant, five parking spots in Mosele shopping complex and one facing Shoprite supermarket. The operators are now abusing this allocation and taking over the entire parking lots.
They are also concerned about the obstructions caused by the congestion of taxis in Maun old mall. Abidile has revealed that the Maun Taxi Association had over the past requested from Council to be allocated the mini ranks/parking spots in order for them to have access to the customers and it was a shame that the taxi drivers are now using the given opportunity to break the road traffic act.
‘‘We are running the cat and mouse race with the taxi drivers, some of them are even responding with an offensive language when we are trying to advise them about that issue,’’ he lamented.
According to Abidile, as a way of trying to intensify their efforts in controlling the situation they make patrols and charge the offenders. He noted that they have requested the Council to make a signage at Nandos Mall that would guide the movement of taxis to minimize the obstructions.
Abidile said offenders are charged fines that range between P1000 for the offence of obstruction and the conductors/loaders an amount of P400 for touting.
For his part the Chairman of Maun Taxi Services, Baitshepi Zambo has explained that they are aware of the unacceptable behaviour portrayed by some of the taxi drivers who obstruct other motorists in the mall. Zambo has revealed that the law should be intensified in order to reduce the offences. He has stated that they always engage with the taxi drivers in order to raise awareness about the situation.