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“Taxi Driver of the Month” for safety

Namibia Public Passenger Transport officials, Edward Kalembe, Spokesman, Nathan Africa, Secretary General, George van Wyk, Vice President and Uapingena Karuaera, Secretary for Membership Affairs, at the launch of the campaign (Photograph by Melba Chipepo)

Namibia Public Passenger Transport officials, Edward Kalembe, Spokesman, Nathan Africa, Secretary General, George van Wyk, Vice President and Uapingena Karuaera, Secretary for Membership Affairs, at the launch of the campaign (Photograph by Melba Chipepo)

In a bid to instill tolerance amongst taxi drivers and to adhere to traffic rules, the Namibia Public Passenger Transport Association (NPPTA) launched a Taxi Driver of the Month initiative where a taxi dirver stands a chance to walk away with monthly prize money of N$5000.
The campaign started last week and runs until 27 April 2013. It is open to all taxi owners of Windhoek who are registered with the NPPTA. The competition enables all registered taxi owners to pay a fee of N$ 5 at the NPPTA offices and receive a number that will qualify them to enter the competition. Commuters can then text the taxi number found inside the taxi to a hotline and report the conduct of the respective taxi driver.
According to NPPTA Secretary General, Nathan Africa, the Taxi Driver of the Month project  promotes safe driving and safe vehicle policies under the organisation’s operational guidelines for all members of NPPTA.  He says for taxi drivers to be eligible for the competition, they should not have any pending traffic offenses and must be paid up members of NPPTA.
Africa says that although the project is currently only for Windhoek based taxi owners, other parts of the country will be able to take part after the 12 month implementation stage for Windhoek has been successfully completed. The winner of the taxi driver of the month for the month of April will be announced in May.
 “Commuters are therefore encouraged to vote via SMS for taxi drivers whom they think drive responsibly and vice versa in order for us to determine whether the taxi driver is really complying with traffic regulations or not,” said Africa. He says the initiative will not only improve road safety at local level upon successful implementation but will also provide an excellent example of best practice for other public transport operators.
Speaking at the same occasion, NPPTA Vice President, George van Wyk said a pilot project was conducted by the NPPTA and other stakeholders such as PEPPY Media Solutions and Nam-mic Payment Solutions for 3 months to determine whether the project is plausible. “We gave away recharge vouchers to drivers with good behaviour whilst on the road and we are happy to announce that the outcome we received was great,” he said.
To raise awareness for the project, the NPPTA is planning to hold a meeting with Windhoek taxi drivers this Sunday, 21 April at the Rehoboth Taxi Area where detail of the project and membership registration will be communicated to the taxi drivers. Flyers will also be distributed to all taxi drivers on the competition rules and regulations.

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