In response to the FanFest 2010 brief King James RSVP proposes that our local taxis and taxi drivers become the hosts and ambassadors to the tourists of the 2010 South African Soccer World Cup.
We propose pre-registration by fans on a widely advertised website, possibly linked to their accommodation bookings. The government has already indicated that they’ll be paying particular attention to guesthouses and B&Bs over this period.
We propose that the government pre-purchases the fares of the nation’s fleet of taxis for the duration of the World Cup in all major centers across the country where games are to be played.
Certainly, taxis as we currently know them couldn’t possibly provide the level of service a tourist or guest would find acceptable. But don’t worry, this will change. This will be in conjunction with a massive ambassadorial programme to uplift the current taxi industry and incentivise the drivers to become patriotic ambassadors and welcoming hosts to the fans.
The big vision
Currently there are around 130 000 minibus taxis on our roads and over 65% of our work force makes use of them to get to work and back home. It is an industry with an estimated turnover of R16 billion a year. Our minibus taxis are a uniquely South African property and aesthetic. They also have a certain degree of infamy, but hopefully we can take what many consider to be a negative and turn it into a positive.
The intention of the government’s current taxi recapitalisation programme is to introduce formal regulation on route allocation and taxi rank management, and to incorporate the taxi industry into the formal public transport system, alongside buses and trains. It also plans on providing commuter fare subsidies. However, the cherry on top is the government’s proposal to help the industry get rid of its ageing fleet of minibus taxis.
The regulation of taxi routes and provision of facilities is key to a better industry. The government’s programme sees taxi operators scrapping their old vehicles in return for an allowance that could be used as a deposit towards a new vehicle. About 85 000 vehicles will remain in the industry. King James RSVP would like to tap into these plans.
A uniquely South African World Cup livery
King James RSVP proposes that taxis become the visual language of our nation’s World Cup. We would like our taxis to be immediately recognisable internationally, as a result of their exposure over this period. And so we propose a new livery for our fleet of taxis.
These designs need not disappear when the World Cup is over; our taxis will keep the official logo and paint job and become our version of the famous yellow cabs in New York, or the smart black cabs of London. Post- 2010, tourists will still be able to ride an official taxi from the 2010 South African World Cup.
A mobile memento, if you will.
Flagging the taxis
The roofs of the newly-painted taxis will provide a great visual messaging platform for a global television audience, as demonstrated here by the formation of the South African flag.
The taxis can be parked next to each other to create and control a space of any size or shape, large or small.
King James RSVP proposes that our newly painted taxis create a ‘taxi village’ at each FanFest. They will form a colourful enclosure around each FanFest, cordoning off certain areas, controlling the space and acting as a solid wall of entertainment.
This self-contained area will be where our soccer fans can eat, drink, party and chill, both before, during and after a game is screened on centrally situated massive screens. Here, once again, our taxi ambassadors will play a role in introducing tourists to our homegrown South African fare.
There will be seating areas where tourists can rest their feet and watch replays of previous matches on plasma screens, while enjoying a braai and some cold beer. The audio from the matches will be broadcast via FM radio to the taxis around the venue, so that we have synchronised surround sound throughout the day. Inside the taxis themselves, we’ll have cameras streaming live footage to the big screens of individual parties happening inside them before the game itself begins. The kwaito will be pumping and the people will be jumping.
These cameras will also take digital pictures that can later be printed out as postcards and souvenirs. Local musicians and personalities will entertain the crowds, as well as host the heats for the ‘Most Pimping Taxi of the 2010 South African Soccer World Cup.’
Pimped taxi interiors
The interiors of our taxis must be fitted with plasma screens streaming footage of the games, with match schedules clearly on view and fridges in the back for tourists to keep their drinks cold. Surround sound will add to the in-transit experience, ensuring that tourists continue to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the World Cup while moving between destinations.
King James RSVP also proposes taking this idea to international taxi fleets, such as the yellow cabs in New York and the black cabs of London. We’ll apply the same soccer ball graphics style as we’re doing here at home.
It is the government’s plan to reduce our current taxi fleet from 130 000 to 85 000 by 2010, so we will have plenty of taxis to play with.
A uniquely South African Experience
King James RSVP believe that our taxis can play a pivotal role in hosting both local and international visitors to the 2010 South African Soccer World Cup.
They will create an internationally recognisable visual language for our country, which will identify, unite and uplift our nation. In addition, they will provide our many international guests with a uniquely South African experience that will remain with them forever and encourage them to return. And, finally, they will be the lifeblood of the best FanFest in the history of the Soccer World Cup.
The team at King James RSVP who made this happen
Jenny Ehlers, Mark Stead, Ross Makepeace, Iain Thomas, Nicola Ferreira, Odysseus Shirindza, Jean Du Plessis, Boitshoko Leteane, Rikus Ferreira, Mbulelo Manong.