It appeared that the taxi recapitilisation plan was back on track last week, but now it looks like the programme may only be completed in 2010 as the taxi industry feels it does not have enough time to change to the new vehicles.

It appeared that the taxi recapitilisation plan was back on track last week, but now it looks like the programme may only be completed in 2010 as the taxi industry feels it does not have enough time to change to the new vehicles.

The R20-billion plan will see the current ageing taxi fleet replaced by new 18- and 35-seater vehicles. It was reported on Monday that everything was back on track, with government and SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) set to sign a memorandum of agreement this week. The government said the first new vehicles were expected to be on South African roads by May next year, but the taxi industry has concerns about the timeline.

Santaco general manager Reggie Mutsi told that the implementation dates were a problem. He said it was originally planned that the taxi industry would change to the new fleet over four years from 2000, but because of the delays, the dates should be changed.

He said according to the National Land Transport Transition Act, taxi operators would only get permits for the new fleet from 2004 and that 16-seaters would be illegal from 2006. But Mutsi said because of all the delays, the taxi industry should be given four years from 2004 to purchase the new vehicles. He said 16-seater vehicles should only be illegal from 2010.

"What we are basically saying is that the act forces taxi people to adhere to the original time frames and dates," he said. "These have to be shifted to allow for another four-year period."

Department of Transport spokesman Ndivhuwo Mabaya told the newspaper the department was considering Santaco’s suggestions. "We are continuing negotiate with Santaco about new dates, so as not to be unfair or to the detriment of the taxi industry," he said.

"But a decision has not been taken on if the dates will be extended. The dates in the act are so close because the taxi recapitalisation programme has not been implemented."

Original article from Car