Taxi bosses in the Western Cape are looking to raise taxi fares by between 10 and 14 percent following the record fuel price hike at midnight on Tuesday.

But bus fares on Golden Arrow buses will remain at current levels as the company indicated it would not raise prices.

At midnight on Tuesday 4 September the price of petrol was raised by 93c and diesel by 69c per litre across the country.

The price of illuminating paraffin, predominantly used by poor household for cooking and heating, also rose by 73c per litre.

President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce, Michael Bagraim, said the Chamber understood why taxi owners had to increase fares although it meant some people might struggle to afford their monthly transport costs if their wages were not increased.

“The petrol spike is the most enormous spike we have ever seen. It comes at a time when businesses, consumers and commuters are already on their knees begging for relief from enormous increases in everything we eat,” said Bagraim.

The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) Western Cape branch spokesperson Robert Langebarie said their 152 affiliated taxi associations were likely to raise taxi fares between 10 percent and 14 percent.

Langebarie said fare adjustment would depend on the taxi association routes and areas.

He said posters alerting commuters about the increase would be placed on taxi windows, with commuters given a seven day notice.

“We are definitely going to increase our prices,” said Langebarie.

He was unable to say exactly when fares would increase as it would depend on individual taxi associations.

Golden Arrow Bus Service spokesperson Bronwen Dyke said the company would be compelled to institute measures to absorb the fuel prices but at the moment “no adjustment in fares will be implemented”.

“Diesel is the single biggest expense item other than wages and the substantial price hike will inevitably place pressure on the company’s operating margins,” said Dyke.

She said the company remained conscious of the effect of increased transport costs on consumers and therefore continuously endeavoured to absorb rising costs through effective cash management, stringent cost controls and a process of quality management.

Bagraim said business could not simply pass their increased overheads onto consumers who were not able to absorb them.

As a result, “businesses would be facing the possibility of bankruptcy and insolvency”, he said

Atlantis’s Blaauwberg Taxi Association (BTA) chair Christy Prins said his association was definitely going to hike its fare prices but needed to work out how much extra it would cost them to run their business.

“When petrol goes up everything goes up, tyres, vehicle servicing…everything goes up,” said Prins.

Source: All Africa – Peter Luhanga