The Western Cape’s transport department recently launched The Blue Dot Project to address several challenges in the minibus taxi industry in the Western Cape, including improving service delivery for passengers. RACS played a pivotal role in facilitating the collaboration between the government and the minibus taxi industry, which recently culminated in the successful launch of the project.
We have always taken pride in our ability to engage meaningfully on transformative projects since the dawn of democracy, shepherding in our transition to constitutional democracy. Our recent transformative work is enabling the minibus taxi industry to work with the government on the Blue Dot Project.
RACS team members Amaan Phiri and Wesley Levendal outlined our broad philosophy of working with the minibus taxi industry centred on the principles of:
- Collaboration and partnership
- Fostering trust and accountability
- Effective capacity building and training
- Implementing strategies incrementally and within a broader picture and frame
A WINNING PARTNERSHIP
Over the past year, we have been fortunate to see the fruit of our labour through our collaboration with the government and other partners to launch innovative projects such as the Red Dot safe transport services and the Blue Dot Taxi initiative in the Western Cape. Spearheaded by the Western Cape’s Department of Transport and Public Works, this collaboration is a prime example of the positive impact that can be created when government officials are committed to meaningfully collaborating and enabling and empowering their partners.
“The Blue Dot Project is an initiative introduced by the government to transform the minibus taxi industry, which is the largest finance provider to the industry. It’s about time we do something about transformation in the industry”, the department’s Director: Land Transport Contracts Recardo Collins was quoted as saying in an interview on Cape Talk.
TOWARDS A SAFER MINIBUS TAXI INDUSTRY
The Blue Dot programme aims to create safer and more dignified public transport services while supporting transformation, empowerment, job creation and a more stable minibus taxi industry, ultimately enabling broader economic benefits.
“Before taxis can participate, the owners, their vehicles, and drivers must meet a wide range of criteria to achieve what is known as ‘green status’,” the department’s head of communications Jandre Bekker was quoted as saying on News24. Over 1000 minibus taxis distributed across the province will take part in this new incentive pilot programme. Blue Dot will reward improved driving behaviour and higher service quality while reducing the likelihood of illegal operations and violent conflict. The project aims to:
- Improve the quality and safety of the service provided to the passenger
- Empower and transform the industry
- Address two of the industry’s most challenging issues: illegal operations and violent conflict
The initiative’s launch is an essential milestone that exemplifies how integration and reform in the public transport sector can occur. We believe that the Western Cape’s Department of Transport and Public Works’ approach is an essential model for other provinces and local authorities, highlighting the positive prospects of government’s partnership with the minibus taxi industry. Passengers in the Western Cape will see vehicles branded with the Blue Dot logo. The initiative will be coupled with proper monitoring and evaluation by the Western Cape that seeks to work with the minibus taxi industry to improve standards and achieve the objectives set out by the Blue Dot incentive programme.
This collaborative work in the public transport sector is an exciting and opportune moment for RACS. We commit to continue championing the approach of our clients and partners, such as the Western Cape’s Department of Transport and Public Works. This commitment hopes to ensure alignment and a renewed commitment to integration and reform in the minibus taxi industry.
“The public transport system plays a critical role in South Africa’s economy. However, the industry has become plagued with several issues and challenges in recent years. The Blue Dot Project is a government initiative to address some of these issues and is a promising step towards a formalised, peaceful and empowered taxi industry. As RACS, we are proud to be involved in the Blue Dot Project. We are committed to utilising our expertise in conflict resolution, business support and change management to assist both the government and the taxi industry in facilitating and creating sustainable transformation,” says Levendal.
Ultimately, projects of this nature seek to improve the standards and service that passengers receive and work in partnership to facilitate the transformation and enablement of the minibus taxi industry.