By Thabiso Thantsha, 26 November 2012, Via Destinyman.com
We chat to entrepreneur Dean Liversage about his tuk tuk taxi business operating in Johannesburg.
Our transport system is not on par with the rest of the world and a lot can be done to improve it. Dean Liversage saw a gap in the taxi market and set out to provide an alternative to meter taxis
When did you start Tuk Tuk Taxi?
We started on a very small scale seven months ago. We have 20 vehicles operating in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. We operate in Rosebank, Sandton, Parkhurst and Parktown North to name just a few.
Any plans to increase the fleet and operate in other provinces?
Yes, definitely. We currently have 100 vehicles. We will only cater for Gauteng for now, including Tshwane. We will be expanding to smaller towns like Rustenburg and Potchefstroom towards the end of 2013.
What sort of challenges have you faced in the last seven months you’ve been in operation?
One of them is the weather in Johannesburg. We got handmade covers (to cover the sides), so we can operate in bad weather. Other than that, it has been smooth sailing. It has been well received by the public and other motorists.
Were there any regulations that you had to adhere to before going into business?
There is a taxi testing station in Langlaagte that we to took our entire fleet to. We had to adhere to the rules and regulations regarding public transport. We are not allowed to drive more than 40km/h when you have passengers in the vehicle. We had to install safely belts and had to modify the vehicles to suit all the requirements. We had to take the vehicles one by one to the testing station where the inspectors had to check everything.
Weren’t you scared that your drivers might be run over by other motorists on the road?
Our drivers go through vigorous trainingand because they travel and operate the vehicle at around 40km/h, there isn’t much danger to the driver and the passengers. Safety is our priority.
How much does a ride cost?
It’s R25 per 5km and we don’t charge per person. So a group of friends can share a trip.
Is the service 24 hours?
We work till 2am weekends and during the week we operate till 12 midnight. And if you book in advance, we can accommodate any time of the day.
* For more information please visit: www.tuktuksa.co.za or call 0861-tuktuk (885885)