Taxi drivers taking the Brandwag route, which takes a turn to and fro the University of the Free State’s main campus in Bloemfontein, say they are fed-up with “#FeesMustFall” protests.
Standing around aimlessly with their vehicles empty and with no signs of improvement has been at the order of the day since the protests resumed on the campus. Though most days are calm and peaceful, taxi drivers say that these protests and campus shutdowns are costing them valuable business as students are opting to stay away from campus.
A taxi driver whose name is known to OFM News, says under normal circumstances, his vehicle hardly takes twenty minutes to fill before he leaves the campus to transport the passengers to their various drop-off points.
The disgruntled taxi driver says these days, business is very bad for him as he considers it a good business day if he gets more than seven people to get into the taxi. He also explains that his taxi accommodates 15 passengers, meaning even with the seven he has on a “good day”, he is still running at a loss.
The concerned driver says he has heard about the plans the university has with regards to the continuation of the academic programme and he is worried what these changes may mean for his line of business.
Theo Malele, spokesperson of the National Taxi Alliance, says the protests have affected the industry double fold. Malele says on the one hand, it’s affected residence students who are no longer on campus in their numbers, who used to rely on taxis to make local trips to town for shopping.
Another way Malele says the student movement has affected the industry is on a national scale, as less and less students are making frequent trips as more students are opting to stay at home and work online.