Exploring the impact of COVID-19 on the taxi industry in the City of Johannesburg
The tourism sector is currently one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, with impacts on both travel supply and demand. The transport system forms a key part of tourism, including the tourist experience at a destination. This research sought to understand how the taxi industry operates within the City of Johannesburg under the government restrictions imposed during COVID-19.
The study adopted a qualitative research approach, based on interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) to explore the topic. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with participants who were purposively selected from the Johannesburg CBD taxi rank.
Insufficient sanitisation and the breaching of curfews were observed. Limited guidance was provided during the initial stages of the pandemic, with no formal training. Financial support was made available, but drivers did not receive funds, as they did not comply with the requirements for membership of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) (Melzer, 2020). Illegal full-capacity loading and price increases were also evident. All participants seem to have expressed some form of anxiety, loneliness and uncertainty. Few suggestions were proposed towards sustainable practices and innovative technological means to support the industry during the lockdown and going forward.
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