7 October 2019 will go down in history as the day Bridgestone SA and SA Taxi entered a strategic partnership aimed at improving road safety and reducing the road carnage in South Africa. The launch of the Bridgestone Taxi R15 – a taxi tyre designed exclusively to meet not only the stringent requirements of the Ses’fikile Toyota Quantum minibus taxi but also the Original Auto Equipment Manufacturer requirements – is being dubbed as the first of its kind in the country.
The same can be said of the business partnership, which is the first of its kind between a tyre manufacturer and the taxi industry.
The taxi industry transports 15 million South Africans daily across a fleet of 250 000 vehicles. Getting people from point A to point B safely is the foundation on which the country’s economy is built.
The SA taxi industry consumes around R3 billion in fuel over a distance that equates to 25 000 trips to the moon and back per year, which results in over one million tyres being used and needing replacement each year.
“This strategic partnership will aid taxi owners in providing access to a world-class tyre that is one of the safest in its class and is affordable to buy,” said Jacques Fourie, CEO of Bridgestone South Africa.
The new Bridgestone Taxi R15 is said to provide taxi owners with a cost-effective offering that not only delivers a smoother driving experience but a safer one as well. Recent figures reveal that human factors attribute to 73% of road crashes, vehicle factors are at 14.1%, roads infrastructure and environment attribute to 12.3%, while in total, 11.2% of fatal road crashes are related to tyres.
According to Bridgestone, with the increasing number of poor quality tyres on our roads losing their thread faster, the Bridgestone Taxi R15 fufills a critical role in the South African market.
In addition, through SA Taxi Rewards, an associated multi-faceted loyalty programme, operators will now be able to save as much as R400 per tyre while earning rewards on parts, maintenance and fuel, said SA Taxi.
Added Maroba Maduma, Communications Executive at SA Taxi: “The deal struck between SA Taxi and Bridgestone will further allow us to stimulate an industry that is critical to the lifeblood of the country’s economy. It is mandatory that vehicles we finance are fitted with a telemetry device that collects data on everything from trip duration and distance covered through to driver behaviour and braking events. It is recommended for all vehicles insured by SA Taxi to have the device fitted.
“Combining this with the cost-effective Taxi R15s we can ensure the small businesses in our fleet operate more efficiently and in future, will include notifying them when tyres are due for replacement.
“Plus, we can direct them to the closest fitment centre on their routes to speed up the process and minimise the impact on their operations,” he said.
For Bridgestone, the advantages are equally clear. Not only will the tyre maker’s name be forever linked to this incredible initiative, the introduction of the Taxi R15s will result in an increase in demand and sales for Bridgestone tyres.
“Given that these tyres will be produced locally, we will create much-needed jobs in South Africa, boosting the economy through this contribution to the manufacturing sector,” stated Bridgestone CEO Fourie.
This dedicated taxi tyre will be available from Supa Quick outlets nationwide and the accredited SA Taxi Auto repair centre in size 613V 195/R15C.
The initial agreement reached between the two parties is for three years. However, both Bridgestone and SA Taxi claimed they had no intent to exit this partnership and that the reason for the initial limitation was to allow sufficient time to align with each other through the transition period.