Taxi industry urged to improve customer service

Attendees included the Speaker of Council, Cllr Vasco da Gama, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development, Cllr Mpho Phalatse; as well as representatives from the Blind SA, Jace Nair, South African National Taxi Association, Garwin Doll, Joburg Disability Forum, the city’s Transport Department and Interdepartmental Disability Forum, Jerry Magagula.
The city, represented by Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development, Cllr Mpho Phalatse, Blind SA and SANTACO signed a pledge of allegiance as part of its mission to change the commuter experience of the blind and partially sighted people.
Speaking about the pledge, MMC Phalatse said: “We signed a pledge with blind SA and SANTACO where the taxi industry is really committing to improving their service towards person who are visually impaired. A lot of them have challenges within taxi ranks like asking where their relevant taxi is because people would just point towards them to the taxi as if they can see where they are pointing to.”
She said it was important to plan better and respond effectively to challenges faced by persons with disabilities.
In October the Persons with Disability unit within Social Development held a workshops with the taxi industry to raise awareness, providing them with relevant education, as well as equipping them with skills to serve this community better.
Doll from SANTACO said the workshops were a perfect intervention and opened the eyes of the taxi industry to what they needed to do to improve service delivery towards their customers, especially persons with disabilities.
He said the taxi industry needed to improve and learn new skills as their clients have different needs.
“We can only be better as an industry when we have such partnerships and hopefully our services will improve,” said Doll.
The City of Johannesburg Transport department is also looking at piloting a project to consider free transportation for persons with disabilities within the Rea Vaya bus service.
To show their commitment to this course, representatives from Rea Vaya gave persons with disabilities an early Christmas by presenting them with bus tickets preloaded with free rides that they can use to move in and around the City.
Speaker of Council, Cllr Vasco da Gama said it was important that the city of Joburg create a conducive environment that benefits all, including persons with disabilities.
“We want to ensure the rights of persons with disability are upheld through-out the City and its various entities.”
The event also gave persons with disabilities an opportunity to showcase their talents by performing cultural songs and poems.

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