Thursday, July 22, 2010

Night Transport - From the Old Blog

Just yesterday while going home a thought came to me about public transport at night. I wondered if there is any study done to determine the economic contribution of jobs performed at night. Jobs that came into my mind are those done by electricians, waiters and waitresses, security personnel, etc. I then also wondered how the unavailability of unscheduled or scheduled public transport have any negative contribution to the development of the economy in those sectors that requires employees to perform their jobs at night.

Just to give you an idea, if you are stuck in Johanessburg CBD from 21H00 and want to take a taxi to Cresta you will count yourself lucky to find an affordable taxi at a normal price of R7.50 or else you will have to pay R100 for a cab. Not even a municipality bus (Metro) is available and forget about Rea Vaya or Putco. The former even operate its last trip at 20H00 from the CBD to Soweto. A good reason for this situation could be as a result that there are very few activities that take place at night in this South African biggest CBD as compared to during the day and the biggest reason being that very few people stay in the CBD…but does this necessarily mean that those work at night don’t deserve the same transport as those who work during the day? No I don’t think so.

I know some big companies do offer night transport for their employees but not all companies can afford that (despite the labour law requiring that) just as much as some companies can not afford to transport their employees during the day. Government need to start thinking of providing transport for these employees and anyone who wants to get a drink at night in his/her favorite bar. Such provision will not only unlock social inclusion but also encourage shop owners to extend their operating times which will ultimately create new job opportunities. With such a big unemployment rate of 25,2% (Stats SA, 1stQuarter 2010), government need to come up with creative solutions to unlock our competitiveness with China and India (and of course other countries)



Considering that very few people work at night and residential areas are scattered in South Africa, I would like to think that Taxis (as shown in the photo) would be the best mode for night transport. Through SANTACO, taxi associations should start proposing such ideas to the national department of transport.

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