March 2019: Keep Calm and Taxi On…

Last year Non-Profit Organisation, RADA, launched the RADA Inspire movement as a means to change perspective around various societal issues and to create a better understanding for those around us. The aim: to marry action with awareness and in turn change the way people react in different scenarios.

It is based on the premise that one person can make a difference, and that when you change yourself, you raise your resonance, creating a ripple effect of positive change.

With the success of RADA Inspire in 2018 – RADA witnessed a conscious effort from citizens to make a difference – the NPO continues their campaign in 2019 as an annual commitment to making the world a better place and inspiring people to lead more positively influential lives.

If we can change our perspective and change our mindsets, then we can change our actions.

As part of their overall vision to create a safe and peaceful environment for all, effecting change through compassion and understanding, RADA will undertake the same ten-month social campaign as 2018, starting with Taxi Month.

For the month of March, RADA will once again focus on the highly controversial topic of taxi aggression and road user awareness. The aim is to create awareness around our reaction to issues on the road and the effect thereof. Last year the team highlighted a day in the life of a taxi driver, bringing awareness to the hardships and intense working situations faced by taxi drivers. This in no way condones illegal driver behaviour, but simply shifts our perspective and creates a sense of understanding of those behind the wheels of South Africa’s most economically significant transport system, the taxi.

The purpose of this campaign is to break the web of negativity that infiltrates our psyche and stimulate conversation. Here are some facts to ponder…

Across the nation, taxis transport almost 14 million people to work every day, helping to sustain our economy. It is also important to recognise that many of these drivers (who are not owners) only begin to earn for themselves after they have collected their first 160 passengers of the day and paid the expected daily rental for the minibus.

Once again, these facts and opinions are not intended to either condone illegal behaviour, or even generate sympathy, as we all have challenges to face while going about our day. Instead our aim is to kick-start and facilitate collective empathy (the idea of shared respect and understanding), and this is the starting point of positive change. Our unwillingness to accommodate other drivers on the road (each going about their day with their own goals and motives) does not add light to the situation. Rather, it creates desperation and rage, putting all other road-users in danger, making the reaction itself futile and therefore serves no purpose.

Since the highly successful CEO taxi dash held in March last year and the significant awareness it created for all those involved, RADA decided to upscale. This year, the organization held a celebrity taxi dash, whereby high profile personalities undertook an “Amazing Race” style dash across the city using only a taxi as a mode of transport.

Musician Nathan Ro says:

“The thing I was most schooled about in the RADA Inspire Taxi Dash was how far the distances between taxi routes are. I walked about 8kms just getting around Fourways. The taxi drivers were all friendly and did us one or two favours… all legal.”

Lead singer of The Capitals, Conrad Rudolph adds:

“The Taxi Dash was a great experience. Apart from the of fresh air that I got to take in and the nice adrenaline rush from jumping off a tower, I actually learnt quite a lot. I would highly recommend that everyone takes at least one trip in a taxi just to get some perspective on what the majority of South Africans have to go through on a daily basis. I’m quite serious about obeying the traffic laws since they’re designed to keep everyone safe, so I can’t say that I condone the way some of the taxis we drove in were driving, especially since the drivers had so many people’s lives in their hands. What I can say is that some of the taxis were really well kept and in great condition so I’m guessing it’s another case of some bad apples tarnishing the reputation of everyone else. It’s good to get a little perspective from the ground instead of just hearsay. I’d say my opinion on the matter is definitely more balanced now.”

Teams comprised DJ Zola, The Capitals, Dave Levinsohn, Howie Combrink, Chris Forrest, Nathan Ro, Steven Lee and Stanton Lewis.

Steven Lee says:

“The Taxi Dash was actually a really interesting experience. It was lots of fun and very exciting but it was also a learning experience of what people go through on a day to day basis. It’s hectic the way you have to rush or walk long distances just to get to your destination or workplace. Also you understand from the Taxi drivers side why they rush like they do. It’s easy to judge from the outside but now I know what actually happens. So thanks for the awesome learning experience.”

Comedian Chris Forrest adds.

“I didn’t realise how much prices have gone up since I used to catch taxis,”

Ultimately, the crux of Taxi Month is one we can all get behind. Up until now, anger has accomplished nothing in terms of solving the problem. We believe that even the briefest moment of patience and good-will can produce tangible, nation-wide results, and that a road without fear or frustration is a safer and more efficient road for all.

Top tips:

  • Remain calm
  • Don’t offend or use obscene gestures
  • Don’t take things personally
  • Practice wisdom and understanding for others
  • Be tolerant and forgiving
  • Spread positivity

Share your positive road user moment with us on social media #RADAinspire

Thanks:
A big thank you goes out to all the participants involved – for their time and bravery – the videographers, Play At Height Skybar and the entire RADA team.

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