Innovative use of tracking units yields results in Blue Dot Taxi Pilot
Media Release by Daylin Mitchell, Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works
There are already over 700 minibus taxis participating in the nine-month long Blue Dot Taxi Pilot Project that went live on 15 May 2021. Participating taxis that meet the eligibility requirements receive incentive payments as a reward for improved driving behaviour and service quality.
As government, we determine these rewards by analysing the data from the onboard trackers fitted to each participating vehicle, physical monitoring of routes, and considering the feedback from passengers and other members of the public. Your feedback really does matter!
We use this information to identify areas where participating taxis are performing well and where there is room for improvement, such as speeding, dangerous driving practices, overloading, poor customer service and poor adherence to COVID safety requirements. We are also working hard to support participants to improve their driving behaviour through ongoing engagement and training.
Real change takes time, and the Blue Dot project is designed to gradually improve behaviour. We are receiving substantial amounts of invaluable data from the vehicle trackers and the public. This alone is a significant step forward for public transport management in the Western Cape.
On a typical day in June, our tracking units detected 5 000 speeding incidents among participating taxis, about half of which were serious. An average of 12 000 harsh driving (breaking, acceleration, cornering) incidents per day were detected in June. Approximately 26 daily speeding and harsh driving incidents were detected per taxi on a typical day in the same month.
These figures provide a crucial baseline against which we can measure improvement over time. Through a combination of the financial incentives during the pilot, regular communication with participants, and ongoing training and capacity building, we aim to improve performance over time as we work toward safer minibus taxi services for the citizens of the Western Cape.
A key feature of the Blue Dot project is its user feedback system which provides passengers and other road users with a powerful tool to help improve taxi services. Real change doesn’t happen overnight but with your help, we move one step closer, day by day. Every time you rate a Blue Dot Taxi, you assist us to identify and reward the taxis that are doing things right and to correct unacceptable driving practices.
From 15 May 2021 (go-live) to 31 July 2021, we received almost 13 700 user ratings, 7 700 from passengers, and 6 000 from other road users. It was interesting to note that 39% rated the service as good to very good, 7% rated the service as average, and 54% rated the service as very bad to bad. The top three issues identified included dangerous driving, unsafe lane changes, and unsafe stopping.
We also received 2 642 written comments, with 118 comments relating to serious issues, including a lack of mask-wearing, smoking onboard, driving under the influence, harassment, assault and theft. These issues may not have come to light without the existence of a free-of-charge and easy-to-use user feedback system.
Of course, when we receive feedback on serious incidents such as these, we take immediate action and, if the allegations are found to have merit, the relevant taxi will be removed from the project. We have zero tolerance for such behaviour. In addition, members of the public are encouraged to report incidents of crime to the South African Police Service.
In response to comments submitted on COVID-19 compliance, field monitors were deployed at public transport interchanges across the Cape Town Metro to monitor compliance with COVID-19 regulations. Since their deployment on 5 July, the monitors have reported 91% compliance with mask-wearing by both drivers and passengers.
To rate a Blue Dot Taxi 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.
Spokesperson for Minister Daylin Mitchell
Cell: 082 953 0026