The more than R400-million taxi rank in Bloemfontein that has turned into a “white elephant” will apparently start operating before the end of this month.
The Mayor of Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, Olly Mlamleli, made this prediction at an event in Phahameng on Wednesday, where she signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with various taxi associations regarding the completion of the Integrated Public Transport Network’s (IPTN) first phase.
The rank was declared “non-operative” after taxi owners refused to operate from there. They claimed the taxi rank’s structure was defective and needed reworking before they could use it. Taxi operators also alleged that two taxis couldn’t simultaneously go in and out of the rank.
They previously accused the Metro of wasting millions of rands of taxpayers’ money on a structure that is currently standing idle. Mlamleli pointed out that some of the issues affecting the taxi rank were, among others, control of traffic inside the rank, the CCTV and its elevators.
“We all came together and explained to them that we have solved and addressed many of the challenges. The few that still exist, are far less and we all came to an agreement that they will adopt those problems together with the municipality. We are also at the stage where we feel that the various taxi associations should utilise the taxi rank for the sake of the public. There are a number of shops inside the building, there are also cleaning that needs to be done and we are in the process of finalising those issues to assign various responsibilities,” Mlamleli explained.