World Population Day: How will population increases impact the minibus taxi industry?
World Population Day:
How will population increases impact the minibus taxi industry?
Observed on the 11th of July, World Population Day is an opportunity to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues that impact development programmes in nations across the globe. With the world population hitting 8 billion in 2022, there is an enormous challenge ahead for the planet – one that requires health, dignity, and education to be a right and reality for every citizen.
In South Africa, our population growth is projected to trend around 61.9 million in 2022, according to published economic models. The World Population Review predicts our nation’s population growth to continue until 2082, reaching 80 million people, before plateauing and potentially declining.
While increasing numbers are entering the job market, the economy has not grown quickly enough to provide employment. The first quarter of 2022 saw South Arica’s unemployment rate declining slightly, but it still sits at 34,5%. This has forced more people who live in rural areas to migrate to urban cities and towns to seek employment or education opportunities, living on the lower-cost outskirts and relying on public transport to commute. The minibus taxi industry remains one of the more reliable and accessible means of public transport to service these areas.
Minibus taxis provide a transport lifeline to the majority of working and school-going commuters. As the population increases, the need to move citizens around will also increase, so the minibus taxi industry continues to grow, particularly in urban areas. Business opportunities for informal traders and service businesses will flourish along with this growth, offering goods and services to commuters.
The government continues to discuss subsidies to the minibus taxi industry, however since the industry is largely unregulated, decisions that are made take time to implement across the entire industry. With no alternative public transport in sight, the minibus taxi industry will continue to grow to fill the needs of its commuters. Should South Africa’s government improve and reorganise this industry in a way that addresses the needs of the nation, it could create city-wide operational networks that integrate with municipal transport operations.