Confronting stereotypes: Taxi drivers look fly in suits and ties in bid to gain respect

Confronting stereotypes: Taxi drivers look fly in suits and ties in bid to gain respect

- Ivory Park taxi drivers don suits and ties every Monday and Friday

- They aim to bring respect to the taxi industry

- They said they now get a lot of compliments

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Taxi drivers in Ivory Park, near Midrand, are confronting stereotypes about the taxi industry by dressing up to look smart and presentable.

The drivers don suits and ties every Monday and Friday, learned. On Wednesdays, they wear golf shirts. They are free to dress as they please on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Speaking to Times Live, one of the taxi drivers, Linda Phiri, said they want to be taken as seriously as airline pilots.

Phiri said:

All I know is that taxi drivers are perceived to be violent people and this was done to prove that the taxi industry is also an occupation‚ a respectable occupation.

The Ivory Park Taxi Association imposes fines of up to R500 on drivers who fail to adhere to the dress code.

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Phiri explained that perceptions about them are already changing:

We get a lot of compliments when we are dressed like this. Before this we were called abomageza empompini [those who bath by the tap]‚ but dressing up like this has changed that.

However, one of the downsides is that sometimes, they have to change tyres or fix minor issues on the taxis even when they are smartly dressed.

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Nevertheless, Ivory Park passengers appreciate the effort the drivers are making to look presentable. One of them, Zanele Zama, said:

Wearing formal [clothes] is just nice and it takes away the stereotype that they don't bath.

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