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High-five for wi-fi in thousands of taxis

2014-06-13 07:55

EMAIL YOUR DESTINATION? Santaco believes that installing wi-fi in its taxis will repair its reputation and benefit passengers. Image: SAPA


JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng - Installing wi-fi access points in taxis and taxi ranks would change perceptions of the taxi industry, according to Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi.

Vadisaid on Thursday (June 12 2014) at the launch of the SA National Taxi Council's Wi-Taxi project in Orlando West, Soweto: "Man, I tell you. I would not have thought of an idea of getting internet into a taxi. It is a novel move."

He said an urban province such as Gauteng should have a high rate of internet connectivity.


Vadi said he was looking forward to the day when a taxi driver would send his queue marshal an email telling him to inform his passengers that he would be delayed due to a Metro road block.

He added that the taxi industry needed a better communication strategy: "Commuters want a change in drivers' behaviour, consideration for the lives of passengers, and respect for the law."

The industry needed to be professionalised.

"You remain our most important partner in the transport industry," he told the taximen. "I see massive growth for the taxi industry because we are far away from having an advanced public transport system."

Santaco, Telkom and Telesure will be partners in the project.

Santaco CEO, Nkululeko Buthelezi, said Telkom would provide the technical support for the project, Telesure would contribute financially.

He declined to comment on how much would be spent on the project but admitted: "It's in the tens of millions."


Each commuter would get 50MB of data free each month and, once their device was connected with the network, would be able to use the 50MB in any connected taxi or taxi rank.

Once that 50MB was used up a prompt would offer an option to buy more.

Santaco secretary general Vernon Billet said: "The plan is to connect 1500 Gauteng taxis and 50 taxi ranks with wi-fi access by the end of June 2014. Subsequent phases will see as many as 5000 access points installed monthly countrywide."

Quite a claim - and the the taxi council expects the project to be completed within three years.

Let's hear it from our readers who commute or use minibus taxis -  what do you think about wi-fi in your rush-hour wheels? Email usand we'll publish your thoughts on Wheels24!

Read more on:    gauteng  |  wi-fi  |  technology  |  good news  |  taxis

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