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02 October 2023

Spatial Insights: City of Cape Town’s dependence on taxis as a mode of public transport

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

Public transport is critical to South Africa’s economic and social development (SA Taxi, 2023) and takes place via roads, railways and airports. The majority of South Africans rely on minibus taxis as their primary form of daily commute and it forms the backbone of the country’s road public transport system

This issue of Spatial Insights considers the Liveability Index and specifically, the number of people who rely on taxis for daily transport in the City of Cape Town.

The recent 2023 Cape Town strike was based on a law enforcement disagreement between minibus taxi operators and the local municipality (Reuters, 2023). The strike disrupted traffic, led to attacks on operating vehicles and alternative forms of public transport, ultimately leaving commuters stranded or unable to get to work.

Spatial Insights Edition 9, 2023

The GTI Liveability index is a composite score based on factors, such as access to social infrastructure, density of residential structures, access to public transport, public open space and total road length.

Figure 1 shows the proportion of the population in Cape Town who rely on taxis for their daily commute. A value of -1 to 0 indicates that no liveability data for the area could be generated. The map illustrates that more than 50% of the population depends on taxis in locations such as Atlantis, Klipheuwel, Hout Bay, Kommetjie, Scarborough, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, some areas in Melkbosstrand, Kraaifontein, Bellville, and in Milnerton. On the other hand, in areas like Sir Lowry’s Pass, Kuilsriver, Fish Hoek, Durbanville, Macassar, and Blue Downs, taxi reliance is below 30% of the population.

Figure 1: Spatial distribution of people’s dependence on taxis in the City of Cape Town Resources

Reuters. 2023. Five killed in South Africa’s Cape Town amid taxi strike. Available:

SA Taxi. 2023. Exploring the minibus taxi as a means to improving public transportation in SA.

Moeti, T.J. & Weir-Smith, G. (2023) The Liveability Index: City of Cape Town’s
dependence on taxis as a mode of public transport. Spatial Insights: Edition

Pretoria: eResearch Knowledge Centre, Human Sciences Research Council.

For more information or access to the data, contact:
Thabiso Moeti, or Gina Weir-Smith,

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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