FRANCISTOWN: A two-day operation dubbed â€˜Operation Francistown Blueâ€™ by the Botswana Police Service traffic branch has revealed that the majority of taxis operating here are not authorised to provide public service transport.
In the street lingo, the illegal taxis are called ‘Mechova’.
The deputy divisional traffic officer north, Senior Superintendent Pelontle Kesupile told Mmegi after the operation that it was a shock that in a period of two days they have arrested 18 taxis operating without permits.
He explained that the pirate taxis are fitted with blue numbers and yellow light, therefore making it difficult for commuters to differentiate pirates from authorised taxi operators.
He pleaded with members of the public interested in operating the taxi business to follow the right procedures by registering with the Department of Road Transport and Safety (DRTS) instead of taking shortcuts.
“Everyone interested in operating a taxi should duly register, undergo an interview, bring along the car they intend to use so that it can be tested and if it qualifies, that is when they can be given a permit,” he said.
Kesupile added that after satisfying all the requirements, the applicant can then be issued a permit to operate a taxi. He lamented that it is easy to procure a blue registration number and that is another reason why people found it easy to operate a taxi with blue numbers illegally.
“It is against the law for garages and other outlets to be cutting blue numbers without proper consideration. We are investigating through the people we have arrested to inform us who cut the blue numbers for them and we will arrest those garages to face the law,” he said.
He said that if garage owners are found guilty of breaking the law they risk losing their business licences.
“All of the 18 people we have arrested will be charged accordingly from P1,600 to P2,000 because they should operate taxis with the authority from the controller being the DTRS, “ he said.
Kesupile said still in their last week’s operation they arrested 19 people driving without licences and 49 people for failing to wear seat belts.