Taxi commuters happy about free wifi access

Taxi commuters in Soweto are happy about getting free wifi access while travelling in taxis or waiting at the taxi rank, they said on Thursday.

Dorcas Mthiya from Diepkloof said the project was a good idea. She was on her way to catch a taxi at the Baragwanath taxi rank where one of the wifi access points had been installed. 

“Normally we get it at the mall or where we work. Here in Soweto there are hardly any wifi spots.” 

University of Johannesburg students Gcina Kelembe and Mbali Mnyandu said the free internet access would make life easier for them because they spent most of their time on their cellphones. Kelembe said they would use it for varsity work-related things and social media. 

During a ride to and from the taxi rank, transport MEC Ismail Vadi connected to the vehicle’s network and browsed through his emails. Another passenger played videos on Youtube. 


The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) earlier launched the WiTaxi project, which would see 1 500 taxis and 50 taxi ranks providing free internet access to commuters within six months. 

Wifi access points
“We want to keep our 15-million daily commuters and attract more people back to using public transport in general and taxis in particular,” Santaco president Philip Taaibosch said. 

Subsequent phases would see between 4 000 and 5 000 wifi access points installed monthly. 

Santaco said the installation of wifi in all taxis and taxi ranks would be done within three years. The taxi association, Telkom and Telesure were partners in the project. 

Santaco chief executive Nkululeko Buthelezi said Telkom would provide the technical support for the project, while Telesure would contribute financially. He declined to comment on how much would be spent on the project. 

“It’s in the tens of millions.” Each commuter would get 50MB free a month. Once they connected their device with the taxi’s wifi network, they would be able to use the 50MB in any connected taxi or rank. 

Once that 50MB was used up, a prompt would let the user know that the usage had run out. Users who wanted more access would have an option to buy more. Earlier, Vadi described the project as innovative. “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. – Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Sapa
Guest Author

Related stories

‘I get nothing at the end of the day’

The taxi industry is the backbone of South Africa’s public transport system. But its drivers, at the mercy of their bosses and government, are struggling to survive the new Covid-19 rules

Mbalula defends changing taxi operating times

Regulations for taxis have been relaxed over the last few days of the lockdown prompting criticism. Transport minister Fikile Mbalula however, has defended the decision

eThekwini commuters pay for council’s contracts

Perhaps a commission of inquiry can shine the spotlight on public transport in Durban, where bus and taxi passengers have to contend with fare increases and disrupted services

Web threatens democracy and must be regulated – without limits on freedom of speech

The political harms caused by large scale are critical issues as well, and ought to be considered in antitrust enforcement

Internet a distant dream for many in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea has the most expensive internet in the world after Zimbabwe

Tiny taxi offers a cute alternative

A new e-hailing service offers rides at a fraction of its rivals’ prices, and it’s cooking with gas
Advertising

Subscribers only

The shame of 40 000 missing education certificates

Graduates are being left in the lurch by a higher education department that is simply unable to deliver the crucial certificates proving their qualifications - in some cases dating back to 1992

The living nightmare of environmental activists who protest mine expansion

Last week Fikile Ntshangase was gunned down as activists fight mining company Tendele’s expansions. Community members tell the M&G about the ‘kill lists’ and the dread they live with every day

More top stories

Fifteen witnesses for vice-chancellor probe

Sefako Makgatho University vice-chancellor Professor Peter Mbati had interdicted parliament last month from continuing with the inquiry

Constitutional Court ruling on restructuring dispute is good for employers

A judgment from the apex court empowers employers to change their workers’ contracts — without consultation

Audi Q8: Perfectly cool

The Audi Q8 is designed to be the king in the elite SUV class. But is it a victim of its own success?

KZN officials cash in on ‘danger pay for Covid-19’

Leadership failures at Umdoni local municipality in KwaZulu-Natal have caused a ‘very unhappy’ ANC PEC to fire the mayor and chief whip
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday