Bridge Taxi Finance has received R70 million from the Gauteng Department of Economic Development to assist local entrepreneurs who have historically been excluded from participating in the economy.
The Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Tasneem Motara, visited Bridge Taxi Finance’s operations in Randburg to get an update on how the funds were being deployed and improving the lives of Gauteng residents.
“The funds will be used to develop and provide support for entrepreneurs in Gauteng who were previously excluded from participating in economic activity as they lacked access to the finance needed to purchase income generating assets such as minibus taxis,” said Thomas Cutten, head of Debt Capital Markets for Bridge Taxi Finance.
“This funding will enable aspiring business owners to become self-sufficient taxi entrepreneurs who provide safe, reliable and affordable transport using new, high-quality vehicles,” Cutten added.
During her visit, Motara toured Bridge Taxi Finance’s high-tech vehicle maintenance and assembly workshop, call centre and operations facilities, from where the company tracks, manages, and assists clients in ensuring their taxi operations are profitable and sustainable.
Bridge Taxi Finance operates under Johannesburg-based empowerment company, Mokoro Holdings. The company offers a suite of finance and support products to the minibus taxi industry in South Africa. This includes strategic investments in, and associations with, various industries supporting the developmental chain, from taxi finance logistics, credit solution services, to the supply of parts and vehicles servicing.
With a market of about 350 000 vehicles, South Africa’s taxi industry is considered to be the largest informal mass transit system in the world, and transports 70% of the country’s workforce to and from work every day.
“The public transport industry is under a lot of pressure with the energy crisis and the war in Ukraine contributing to huge increases in the cost of fuel that directly impacts an industry such as the taxi industry. For this sector, time is money and load shedding contributes negatively to their business. [Bridge Taxi Finance] are responding to the safety, reliability, affordability and non-interruption in business,” said Motara.
The funding is part of the Gauteng government’s SMME crisis fund to assist SMMEs in the province to cope with the current energy crisis.
“For us, working with partners is very important, especially partners that offer solutions. A facility such as this would definitely be negatively impacted by the energy crisis that we face and would need uninterrupted energy to be sustainable and profitable. We are now looking for those who can offer solutions to the energy crisis so that SMMEs, businesses and partners such as [Bridge Taxi Finance] can further contribute to and expand what you are doing,” said Motara.
Bridget Taxi Finance provides its clients with day-to-day support services and monitors vehicles via telematics to ensure they are roadworthy and generate relevant insights about driver behaviour. This helps to keep vehicles on the road earning an income, to the benefit of taxi owners and operators.
“The Department of Economic Development was impressed that we can provide up-to-the-minute reporting and accountability of our operations and by our commitment to support our clients to become successful, independent entrepreneurs,” said Cutten.
Bridge Taxi Finance is committed to continue supporting the entrepreneurial spirit of the South African taxi industry, which is the backbone of South Africa’s public transport network.