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The Integrated Public Transport Service (IPTS) of the Metro, which is to usher the public transport service known as Libhongolethu, undertook to run a programme with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s Business School - which will provide business leadership to the taxi operators and transition of their staff – drivers, conductors and rank marshalls from the informal - to the formal sector of public transportation.

The programme, which the NMU Business School refers to as the IPTS Leadership and Development Programme, has been necessitated by the requirements of a corporate organisation which the Libhongolethu service will be, to be supported by a capacitated management to run it.

At a recent fortnightly meeting of the affected operators who have signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the IPTS called the Industry Co-ordinating Committee (ICC), which is chaired and adjudicated by an independent facilitator – the taxi operators expressed their wish to undergo such training. This requirement by the operators prompted the IPTS to activate the relationship that the university has with the IPTS.

"It might well be the first of its kind in public transportation, which we hope, will be emulated by other academic institutions in this country and the continent”, said Ms Lee-Ann Vasi, of the NMU Business School. "It will commence on 1 June and will last until the end of August, this year:”

The projections of the IPTS Office are that the programme be a continuous annual programme with a refresher element. "We want the programme to have a customer centric approach and one that will provide and sustain behavioural change and its management”, said Advocate Fezile Gaushe – Head of Industry Transition at the IPTS Office.

For the Starter Service on the Cleary Park Route, about 40 taxi operators will participate in the IPTS Leadership and Development Programme and in groups about 150 of the taxi drivers will participate with their conductors and rank marshalls upon which will receive a Competency Certificate upon submission of assignments and attendance.

The MMC for Roads and Transport, Cllr Rano Kayser, who is the political head of the IPTS, regards the capacity building and empowerment of the taxi industry that will roll out the Starter Service as one of the milestones towards the realisation of Libhongolethu.

"This is another feather in the hat of the Metro to build on the human capital of the residents of the Metro. We have enrolled a hundred taxi drivers from the Starter Service Route to graduate from small passenger vehicle driver licence holders to heavy duty driver licence holders and the sixty that have sat for the learner driver exams – more than 90% of them have passed their learners. Those who did not make it will be afforded more opportunities as we do not want anyone left out. It is our desire to even enrol conductors who do not have driver’s licences - to participate in the Driving Academy”.

"This development of the IPTS Leadership and Development Programme is the first of its kind in the country and was inspired by the commitment of the taxi operators not to fail in rendering a world class public transport service. It also illustrates what we have been at pains to communicate – that the IPTS is a process – not an event!”, concluded Kayser.

For more information please do not hesitate to contact the Mayoral Committee Member for Roads and Transport, Councillor Rano Kayser.

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