Western Cape Government’s Blue Dot pilot programme – why National Government needs to take it over

2 November 2022
Department of Transport and Public Works
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Media Release by Daylin Mitchell, Western Cape Minister of Mobility

Almost 18 months ago, the Western Cape Government partnered with the provincial minibus taxi industry to roll out the ground-breaking Blue Dot taxi pilot project, an incentive programme to reward improved driving behaviour and good passenger service quality, and in a strong, positive effort to turn around instances of illegal operations and conflict.

The Western Cape Cabinet endorsed the pilot project in September 2020 and it went live on 15 May 2021, with the participation of approximately 800 minibus taxis distributed across the regions of the Western Cape.

8 regional companies were established, representing all 8 regions of the province and these companies joined Umanyano Travel Services, the provincial company established by SANTACO Western Cape during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This represented a significant leap forward for the formalisation of the minibus taxi industry in the Western Cape. Since these companies were established, we have worked closely with them to build these businesses into sustainable enterprises and ensure compliance with corporate governance best practice. This has been a collaborative process and the results have been extremely positive.

The minibus taxi industry plays a critical role in the economy of the Western Cape and in the lives of our citizens, transporting 2 million passengers daily and accounting for 75% of all public transport trips.

We have shown that the Blue Dot pilot project works, and works well. However, we need the support of national government to fund the continuation and expansion of this powerful pilot programme. Funding this programme is the mandate of the national department. Where rail has almost collapsed in South Africa this programme shows how we can make a rapid intervention to improve the public transport industry – this pilot project shows how you can change the game.

The Blue Dot Taxi pilot project will officially terminate on 30 November 2022, and I will be engaging national government to support us in rolling this programme out beyond the province’s pilot.

The continuation of Blue Dot remains my top ministerial priority. I call on the national government, business and other stakeholders to join us as we seek to strengthen, grow and empower the minibus taxi industry so as to provide safer public transport. 

I will in the coming weeks engage my counter parts at local, provincial and national government to see how we can make this a South African initiative.

We have invested R215 million to prove that this pilot works and it is now up to the national government to support us and put resources in the minibus taxi industry.

The project responded to the urgent need to improve public transport in the Western Cape by improving the quality of service provided by the minibus taxi industry in a context of the near-total collapse of the rail system, increasing congestion, and other challenges.

Since these companies were established months ago, the WCG worked closely with them to build these businesses and they comply with corporate governance best practice. This has taken significant effort and dedication, but the results have been positive.

The partnership helped to ensure that the pilot has successfully achieved its objectives by reducing speeding by 50% and harsh events (cornering, acceleration and braking) by 40%, while passengers consistently rate the service positively via the user feedback platforms.

The Blue Dot pilot has been a remarkable success – as part of the pilot programme:

  • We have formed 8 new regional companies (Boland, CATA, CODETA, Eden, Greater Cape Town, Mitchells Plain, Northern and Two Oceans);
  • We have branded 808 vehicles, fitted them with a tracker and checked for safety – allowing us to monitor over 3,3 million km of operations monthly across 150 routes;
  • 286 operators and almost 1 200 drivers have met the eligibility requirements to participate, which included tax compliance;
  • Western Cape Government invested R215 million in the programme.

For the first time in South Africa, through the Blue Dot pilot, minibus taxi passengers and other road users have been empowered to rate the quality of the service via cell phone.  We’ve received over 30 000 ratings to date as “good”.

We also received the following results through the Blue Dot passenger survey:

  • 82% reported feeling safer when travelling with a Blue Dot Taxi.
  • 78% agreed that a Blue Dot Taxi is a better taxi.
  • 88% agreed that the Western Cape needs more Blue Dot Taxis.

The minibus taxi service remains a critical mode of transport for South Africans to get to economic opportunities and other amenities.

Media queries:          

Ntomboxolo Makoba-Somdaka
Spokesperson for Minister Daylin Mitchell
Cell: 082 953 0026
Email: Ntomboxolo.Makoba-Somdaka@westerncape.gov.za