The Western Cape government has launched its Blue Dot taxi pilot project this week in an effort to improve transport safety in the province.
The project is an incentive scheme to reward improved minibus taxi driving behaviour and service quality, while reducing the risk of illegal operations and violent conflict. Over 1,000 taxis from across the province will participate in the pilot.
Before taxis can participate, the owners, their vehicles, and drivers must meet certain standards to achieve “green status”, the provincial government said.
Owners and drivers must have their documentation in order and complete a Blue Dot training programme, while taxis must have a valid roadworthy certificate and be fitted with a tracker and branding by the provincial department of transport.
“A key feature of Blue Dot is the passenger rating system, which empowers passengers and members of the public to hold Blue Dot Taxis to account for the service they provide and their driving behaviour,” it said.
“Passengers and members of the public can anonymously rate Blue Dot taxis using their cellphones and this rating will help to determine the incentives that participants receive.”
To rate a Blue Dot taxi, the provincial government said that users can dial *134*3047# for free or WhatsApp “Hi” to 073 249 2152 with the taxi’s unique number, which can be found on the outside of the vehicle and on the posters inside the vehicle.
When you submit your rating, users will be need to asses if the taxi is:
- Driving well
- Following the rules of the road
- Too full
The new system follows the successful implementation of the Red Dot taxi service in 2020 which aimed to create a safe public transport system for healthcare workers and for those being transported to and from quarantine and isolation facilities.
The Red Dot taxi service is delivered by a fleet of almost 200 dedicated minibuses, each fitted with a protective screen between the driver and passengers, a tracker to monitor performance and the recognisable red sticker.