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Metered taxi drivers have attended the launch of the Eco-driving programme. (News24)
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Cape Town - The Western Cape Provincial government and City of Cape Town have launched a programme to encourage taxi drivers to help "green" the city by changing their driving habits.
As part of the city's Green Goal programme, the Eco-driver Training programme was launched with the Metered Taxi Association in Cape Town on Tuesday.
"This is our long term legacy approach and we hope it will be rolled out nationally," said Anton Molden of the South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia) which is one of the programme's sponsors.
He explained why Sapia was involved in the programme.
"We have six refineries, but we are pushed for fuel supply. If we push our refineries, we push out more carbon, which is bad for the environment. Currently only 11% of cars on the road require newer, cleaner fuels, and will cost us in the order of R40bn to fully develop clean fuels," he said.
The training programme is designed to change driving habits such as getting taxi drivers to "anticipate traffic flow" and "avoiding stop and start" driving in order to reduce fuel consumption.
Some drivers however, felt that more should be done for them to earn money.
"I'm already doing this, but we need to get more work," Nigel Burricks, a taxi driver of five years, told News24.
"Some of us sit and wait for work up to four hours every day and they need to help us get work on a regular basis," he added.
"Sometimes there's not even one call to the Metered Taxi Association to say 'We need a cab'. They need to do better marketing so we can work," another driver added.
MEC for transport and public works, Robin Carlisle, said that he was focussed on metered taxis.
"My job is to get public transport off the ground and metered taxis provide the flexibility. In European cities, taxis are better if you can afford it," he said.
Gottlieb Arendse, a director in the provincial department of environmental affairs, said that this pilot scheme had some challenges.
"There are issues that were dealt with and the Green Goal programme has challenges with the mini-bus taxi associations. It was easier to implement within the organisation of the metered taxis," he told News24.
"Hopefully this pilot scheme will go wider," said Molden. "Perhaps we could issue a decor on a taxi that says 'eco taxi' and that might appeal to the public. They also need to promote themselves," he added.
Arendse added that taxi drivers could save money by doing "eco-driving" but could not quantify exactly how much savings because drivers were encouraged, not obliged to keep logbooks of their consumption.
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