Taxi driver rules 1

It seems odd to post about taxi drivers in Women’s month, but since I am having a really crazy week, I am going ahead and doing it anyway, so below are the rules for dealing with South African taxi drivers:

1. if you are in a big hurry and three taxi drivers try to push into your lane, make way because if you end up in an accident, it will be your fault. Remember, a taxi driver is ALWAYS right on the road;

2. if you are a passenger in a taxi and you have the dubious pleasure of being in one of those old fashioned minibuses, rather than the new Dept of Transport ones, do not complain about being made to sit between seats or as the fourth person in a three seater row. Just sit down or catch another taxi;

3. if you’re in your own car, do not argue with a taxi driver on the road, or hoot at him no matter what he does;

4. if you are driving along happily and the taxi in front of you suddenly stops with no indication, wait until you can change lanes or until the taxi passengers have finished getting on and off. Do not act up. Just sit there patiently because the taxi driver is ALWAYS right on the road and you don’t want to piss him off;

5. if you are in the unfortunate position of being in the front seat in a taxi with or without a gaatjie, just pass the change back and forth and don’t complain. If something should happen and there is too little or too much money, just look at the people behind you with incomprehension;

6. if you are having a manic day and need to change lanes in front of a taxi, you need to be a little aggressive and pretend as though you are entering the lane you want to be in. Taxi drivers understand this and will think you’re crazy not being one of them technically, but they’ll let you in with little fuss;

7. if you’re in a hurry and it is rush hour, take the free way and let the taxis weave in and out. If you take the main road – whatever main road, wherever you live – then you can’t blame taxi drivers for stopping just before and just after robots because there are no taxi lanes in most cities;

8. if you want to fight with a taxi driver and you are in his taxi, it is better to do it when you have other people who will back you up and when in motion rather than at a taxi rank. A taxi rank is the taxi driver’s kingdom, so if it’s about money, it’s not worth it;

9. if you are in Cape Town and the gaatjie calls you ‘my girl’, ignore him and wait until you’re on the road to start telling him off;

10. if your robot is about to turn green and the taxi going the other way looks set to cross the barrier line, just wait and be sure the taxi driver is not colour blind. If you collide with a taxi, even though your light is green and his red, it it YOUR fault;

11. if there is a fight between competing taxi associations, and it is safe to do so, take the bus because you don’t want to get caught up in the crossfire of something that has nothing to do with you;

12. if the taxi driver is playing loud music and he is about to miss your stop, scream for him to stop at the top of your voice because otherwise you’re set to go on a joy-ride. He will not put the music down because there are two types of taxi drivers: those that like their music at deafening frequencies and those that don’t. You’re stuck with the kind driving your taxi;

13. if taxi drivers are ganging up on anybody at a taxi rank, call the police immediately. Don’t ask questions unless you have an army ready to help the person being ganged up on. Taxi drivers as a group only understand other taxi drivers and the police;

14. no matter what the taxi driver does, you will not get your refund, so just let it be;

15. if one of the passengers in your taxi starts to fight with the taxi driver, side with the passenger. This is the only time that taxi drivers back down;

16. don’t let the fact that the taxi driver is playing loud gospel music fool you into thinking anything about his likelihood to be nice to you. This applies especially if you’re in the part of the eastern cape that used to be a homeland with the letter C;

17. if you see Joburg Metro police stopping rows of taxis, just drive by, quickly;

18. taxi driving is incredibly stressful, so be nice to the nice taxi-drivers and ignore the annoying or mean ones until you’re on the road and someone will back you up;

19. don’t make taxi driver jokes.


a) they have to wake up at the crack of dawn to make as many trips as possible;
b) the owner want his or her bottom line, so the driver has to rush up and down all day;
c) there are no legal places for them to stop, so where do you want them to stop?
d) passengers don’t want to walk an extra 20 metres, otherwise they would take the bus;
e) they’re just as bad on the road and as men as most other men in our society, so you don’t need to cut them some slack, but you can understand that.
f) they have to put up with all sorts of people all day everyday. Wouldn’t you be meaner?
g) back in the day when fewer Black people had cars and businesses, they were the biggest Black business and they made up their own rules;
h) oh, i don’t know!


Posted on 14 August 2008, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. And two more tips for those kwerekweres who think South AFrican taxis are Kenyan matatus or Tanzanian daladalas…

    20. If the only seat available is the one next to the driver and you are not sure of the ‘collecting money business’ do not say that you will wait for the next taxi because you will not be allowed into any other taxi at that taxi rank.
    22. If any taxi man speaks to you in Zulu/xhosa and you do not understand, do not ask them to speak in English; just contextualize and do what you THINK they want you to do.
    23.If you do not want to get into one taxi because you think the driver looks mean, or you dont want to collect money or the taxi looks old and ‘uninsured’ please pretend that someone has called you and pretend to be talking on the phone as you walk away. you can say something like…”i was almost getting into the taxi so where are you? Ai wena… I am coming.”
    24.Always pretend to be South African.Punctuate your words with ne, wena, sukka and when you use English, use one of those distinctly South African/Afrikaans accents. Dont say ‘bird’ say ‘bed’, dont say ‘work’ please say ‘wek’ and you will be fine!!

    Safe trip…

  2. Those were not two tips, ne?

  1. Pingback: The Tyranny of Taxis | Titanium

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