App minuses minibus stress

A new web based app is taking the stress out of front seat taxi travel by doing all the calculations for you.


FRONT SEAT FOR DUMMIES: New app Phambili is making taxi travel less stressful for commuters.                                       Photo: Thembisile Dzonzi


If you’ve ever been in a Johannesburg taxi, you would know how daunting the task is of sitting in front and counting the fare. Even with advanced arithmetic skills, calculating change for 15 people can be daunting.

The rule is commuters who sit in front are tasked with calculating the fare for the rest of the passengers. Now, thanks to a new app called Phambili, the front seat pressure is off.
Phambili is giving the taxi industry a much needed digital face lift and making the travel experience less stressful for commuters.

Phambili allows the user to enter the taxi fare for the trip. The app then adds the number of people that have paid and the amount they have paid. Using the details provided, Phambili calculates the change and tells the user how much the driver’s money will be in total.

The app has also recently been improved with a multiple calculation platform that allows it to calculate for trips with two fares.

According to logistics company Afta Robot, the South African minibus taxi industry is serviced by more than 300,000 vehicles transporting more than 14-million daily passengers.

Phambili is also a building a database of routes and their costs.

Access the app on their website www.

You can also take their “return change challenge” to see how the app works.

Taxi wars come to Wits

A confrontation outside the Station street entrance of Wits University almost turned violent this evening after a man driving a private car collided with a minibus taxi.

A heated argument ensued when the taxi driver demanded the man pay him R600 for the damages to his vehicle.

[pullquote align=”right”]One driver sarcastically asked one of the female passengers why “she chose this dirty dog as a boyfriend when there were men like him around”. [/pullquote]

When the driver of the private vehicle seemed to resist, he was quickly surrounded by a group of other taxi drivers who jeered him, hurling insults at the man and the two female passengers with him, calling the man a “foreigner’ who “thought he was tough guy”.

This journalist was also accosted by the taxi drivers for taking photographs of the argument, and subsequently forced to delete the photographs, the taxi drivers saying “you haven’t asked us to take pictures. You want to go there to your newspaper and write lies”.

One driver sarcastically asked one of the female passengers why “she chose this dirty dog as a boyfriend when there were men like him around”. She replied that he wasn’t her boyfriend, that they were colleagues from varsity. The woman then tried to explain, in isiZulu on behalf of the driver, that he was willing to pay the money and only had to go withdrawn it from an ATM.

The taxi driver in front of her then grabbed her by the shoulders and told her that she must stay in the car and not try to run away. Visibly shaken, the woman went to the car and returned with six crisp R100 notes, which she handed over to the driver of the taxi.

Refusing to give his name, the driver of the taxi told Wits Vuvuzela that he was exiting the petrol station opposite the Station street boom gates when his front bumper was hit by a blue hatchback.

He said the R600 would cover the cost of damages without having to involve the police.