The brandhouse Number One Taxi Driver Campaign is here again and this time even bigger and better. The programme will train thousands of drivers at 451 ranks throughout South Africa in road safety and responsible driving techniques, including a commitment to never drink and drive. Taxi drivers who participate in the training will compete to win one of four Toyota Quantums.
The 2011/2012 campaign was officially launched on 6 December 2011 at the Nelspruit Taxi Rank in Mpumalanga, the province of pioneers.
The brandhouse Number One Taxi Driver campaign, the first public-private sector partnership of its kind in the industry, was created by brandhouse in 2004. It is being conducted in partnership with the Department of Transport, Toyota, Caltex and taxi associations, SANTACO and the NTA.
“We are very excited about the new campaign, as we are more than doubling the reach of the training of taxi drivers. Last year we trained about 5000 taxi drivers, and this year we hope that more than 7000 will participate in the training which will be offered at taxi ranks. The campaign goes a long way to ensure that the best taxi drivers are on the country’s roads,” says Gerald Mahinda, brandhouse Managing Director.
The 2011/2012 programme will be delivered to taxi ranks nationwide through the services of the Toyota Advanced Driving Academy. The taxi drivers will be trained through theory and practical tools and more time will be spent at the taxi ranks, conducting driver training. This platform will also be utilised as an opportunity to motivate all participating taxi drivers to become responsible drinking ambassadors.
Since training is held at various taxi ranks, commuters will also able to witness their drivers being put through their paces.
“Feedback from last year was very positive from drivers and commuters, as well as the trainers, and we believe our roads will be that much safer following the driver education,” says Mahinda. Last year there was a single prize of a 14-seater Toyota Sesfikile Quantum, and this year the winnings have expanded to four Toyota Sesfikile Quantums. What started off in 14 taxi ranks and 4 provinces has been extended to 451 taxi ranks nationwide – in both urban and rural ranks.
The campaign is carried out with the endorsement of the Department of Transport who has in turn linked the programme to regional municipalities and taxi associations.
“As you know taxis are the most popular mode of transport for the majority of South Africans. There are about 283,159 minibus-taxis, and the taxi industry is estimated to contribute more than R30 billion to the GDP of the country. But at the same time the carnage on our roads is estimated to cost more than R60 billion to our domestic economy. The Department wants to form solid partnerships with organised labour, business, the religious community, civil society as well as other formations to end this carnage. To this end we are proud to partner with the brandhouse Number One Taxi Driver campaign. ,” said Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele.
In addition, Toyota SA, a partner with brandhouse, further enhances the campaign by providing this initiative with the Toyota Advanced Driving Academy that carries out the testing phases of this initiative.
“Toyota South Africa has been a long-standing partner of the South African taxi industry. Our decision to support brandhouse in this worthy initiative speaks of our continued support of this industry and our commitment to road safety in general,” says Dr Johan van Zyl, President and CEO of Toyota South Africa.
A new partner includes Caltex and other key stakeholders are the South African National Taxi Corporation (SANTACO), Arrive Alive, International Decade of Action and the National Taxi Alliance (NTA). “This campaign is about a search for advocates of responsible driving. We believe that it is initiatives such as the brandhouse Number One Taxi Driver campaign that will make a difference in our communities and it is for this reason that we are proud to partner with brandhouse on this campaign,” says Jill Koopman, Brand Manager at Caltex.
Making an impact and effecting change
There are thousands of minibus taxis on the roads in South Africa that transport more than half of commuters every day, over short or long distances. This becomes acute over December and Easter, with road congestion more than doubling and the number of accidents among the highest in the world.
As one of South Africa’s leading alcohol beverage companies, brandhouse is committed to promoting responsible alcohol consumption. When looking around to find the right area where the message about responsible drinking and road safety could be conveyed, brandhouse’s focus fell on the taxi industry mainly because of its impact on the lives of so many.
“The campaign is one of our key community enrichment programmes at brandhouse, aimed at not only promoting road safety within the minibus taxi industry but providing valuable skills to the drivers. As a business, we continue to place enormous importance on making a meaningful difference in the lives of the communities in which we operate and measure brandhouse’s long-term success in South Africa by much more than commercial achievement and having an enviable collection of world-class brands”, adds Mahinda.