Just one month after the Swakopmund Municipal Traffic Department and the taxi industry proceeded with the first registration numbers system, already well over 300 numbers have been allocated to taxi operators, paving the way forward for a new efficient system.
“The system has been smooth-running and very well received,” said Senior Swakopmund Traffic Officer Trudie Xoagus, co-ordinator of the taxi registration project.
The municipal taxi registration process is a free service provided by Swakopmund Municipality, with exception to the stickers that taxi operators have to pays for.
Xoagus said the purpose is to identify the growing number of taxis operating in the coastal town, something that has been a thorn in the side of the traffic department. The traffic department expects to register at least 350 taxi operators.
Despite some logistical hiccups, which delayed the initial starting date, the traffic department welcomed the positive turnout from the onset, with ten taxi’s turning up for registration on the first day.
The first number ‘S001’ was issued to members of the Swakopmund Taxi Committee, taxi owner Abner Niinkoti and driver Festus Sheehama.
Once traffic officers had checked and verified the engine and chassis number against the owner’s identification and other particulars, a disc number was allocated. What follows is a fuss-free signwriting process to duplicate the numbers in bold blue or white lettering that to be positioned visibly on the vehicle.
“We want all operating taxis registered and identified, and have the process up and running properly by the festive season,” said Xoagus. “We will only determine the exact amount of taxis operating once the registration process is complete,” she said.
The traffic department said the new registration is expected to change the face of the taxi business down at the coast. Complaints regarding taxis have reached an all time high, and with no identification in place, law enforcement officers have little control over pirate taxis, illegal and under aged drivers and lawbreakers.
And whilst the taxi registration at the coast trails behind Windhoek, the traffic department is making sure that their new method follows an efficient numerical system, bringing with it a sigh of relief to law enforcement officials and the public.
“With the bulk of taxi operators registered through the traffic department, we can move ahead knowing that we have a proper structure in place, which will in future benefit all parties concerned,” added Xoagus.
She claimed that taxi drivers will take ownership of their numbers, so any unauthorised duplication will be easier to pick up, ultimately leading to the prevention of unlawful taxis.
“This method will reduce illegal operations and eliminate illegal operators, whilst at the time, this exercise will also enable the town council to have a proper database of legal taxis on our roads,” she said.