1 February 2013

Namibia: Businesspeople in Otjomuise Unhappy With Pirate Taxis

Business people at the Otjomuise shopping complex in Windhoek are unhappy with private taxi drivers that park in front of their shops, claiming that these vehicles are occupying their customers' parking space.

The taxis mostly transport people from Otjomuise to the 7de Laan and 8ste Laan informal areas for N$5, which is much lower than the standard fee of N$9 to designated taxi ranks and N$18 to other areas.

"We reported this issue to the traffic department several times last year but nothing has been done. They come here and take pictures but they do nothing about this," complained one businessman.

"Most of these cars are not even registered," he continued. "Some have no number plates or discs on their cars. What annoys us more is that there is no parking space for our customers. They should stop parking in front of our shops and let the municipality give them space," he fumed.

The manager of one of the shops complained that the major hassle is traffic problems.

"They are taking parking space for customers with cars, they are blocking our routes and they park in the middle of the road. Worst of all they don't follow traffic rules."

According to the shop manager most of the cars are not roadworthy or registerd. "Eighty percent of these cars don't have discs," he said.

He said it is very frustrating because most of the drivers are there from eight in the morning to nine in the evening and one struggles to have a decent conversation with them.

"You can't talk to them or tell them to move, they look at you, swear at you and drive away. I fought with these drivers on various occasions. We even had a incident were a woman was driven over twice and children are bumped here too. People should also know that this is not safe for them."

"I don't think the traffic [department] is doing a very good job. They come here for an hour and immediately when they leave the drivers come back. Sometimes when the police get here these people run away. Maybe they should come up with a different method to catch them red handed," advised the businessman.

"The municipality should please give them a taxi rank to operate from," he pleaded.

The deputy chief of the City Police's Traffic Management Unit, Adam Eiseb, said he was not aware of these pirate taxis.

"I am not aware of this. It's news to me," he said.

"How do they identify illegal taxis? Do they see payment being made or do they just see someone being picked up or given a lift?" Eiseb asked.

"As much as we want to prevent crime we go beyond the whole problem and conduct a mini-study. The bigger picture is to solve the problem for the benefit of everyone."

Eiseb said it would be of no use chasing the drivers away and those who use their services are on the losing end.

"Where one person's rights end, the other person's rights start," he said.

He said the City Police would look into the matter and come up with the best solution for everyone.

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