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Toyota South Africa has announced a functional and safety upgrade for the Toyota Quantum Ses’fikile, South Africa’s most popular minibus taxi.
This upgrade comes as a further evolution of the Toyota Ses’fikile in the taxi market to meet the latest regulatory requirements and also offer better efficiencies for operators.
"As the implementation of the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme progresses behind the scenes, there is evidence of not just a renewal of the taxi fleet on a national basis but also of a significant advance in safety requirements in this fleet," says Andrew Kirby, Toyota’s Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing.
In the minibus/panel van market the Quantum enjoys a position of market leadership with close to a thousand sales a month on average, the majority of those in the dedicated Ses’fikile taxi specification.
This volume together with the visual presence of new Ses’fikile taxis on our roads provides positive evidence that the recapitalisation programme is moving ahead quite rapidly.
Together with its main aim of fleet renewal the taxi recapitalisation programme brought with it a set of new safety requirements and these are subject to regular review.
One of the regulatory requirements now being enforced is that all new minibus taxis should be fitted with an emergency escape hatch in the roof. The latest version of the Ses’fikile, released for sale in mid-August fully meets this requirement and leads the way in regulatory compliance.
Initially we had to follow the basic specification of the Quantum very closely as a fully imported model and that included the 14 seat configuration and seating materials.
As the demand for the Ses’fikile has grown TMC has recognised the need to establish a more unique specification for the Ses’fikile that includes an increase in seating capacity to 15, and a change to vinyl seat covers in place of cloth. Both of these changes are in response to requests from operators.
The increase in seating capacity equates to an immediate increase in 7% in terms of operating efficiency. The change to vinyl seat covers is a functional change with vinyl more durable than cloth in high traffic applications such as the Toyota Ses’fikile.
A further functional change comes in the design of the rear seat which now no longer has a recline function or headrests, both redundant in a minibus taxi application.
"As the brand of choice in the minibus taxi market Toyota has always strived to offer the most cost efficient and safe solution for customers. This latest upgrade to the Ses’fikile is in line with both of those criteria."