Spotlight on Uber after clashes with SA metered-taxi industry
COMPETITION between the traditional metered-taxi industry and ride-hailing app Uber will come under scrutiny when the Competition Commission begins a market inquiry into the public passenger transport sector. The market inquiry comes after the commission received numerous complaints relating to public transport in the country.
The metered taxi industry has been at loggerheads with Uber drivers since the taxi-hailing app was launched in South Africa. Uber is accused of “stealing business” and operating illegally.
Yesterday, the commission called for submissions into the Public Passenger Transport Market Inquiry, which was recently published in a government gazette.
The scope of the inquiry includes price setting mechanisms, price regulation, transport planning, allocation of subsidies, route allocation, and licensing requirements among other things. In essence, the commission seeks to understand the market dynamics across the entire value chain.
It said a market inquiry was a general investigation into the state, nature and form of competition in a market, rather than a narrow investigation of specific conduct by any particular firm.
This particular market inquiry seeks to address concerns that there may be features that prevent, distort or restrict competition in a sector that caters for the transport needs of between 70 percent to 80 percent of the population. The commission said it has identified road and rail public passenger transport as relevant for this inquiry, including minibus taxis, localised and metered taxis, app-based taxi services, Metrorail, and the Gautrain.
The guidelines for participating in the inquiry seek to provide for a fair opportunity and a transparent process for all stakeholders.
The commission also published a call for submissions for stakeholders and the public to provide evidence and information that will assist it to formulate sound recommendations. It said submissions about the state of competition in the industry should be detailed and views or opinions should be substantiated. The closing date for full submissions is August 24.
Meanwhile, Uber South Africa said yesterday that it had requested an urgent meeting with the ministers of police and transport to address the ongoing war between its partner drivers and the traditional metered taxi industry, especially in Gauteng.
An Uber partner driver, Lindelani Mashau, died yesterday after suffering serious burn wounds.
The Uber app logo on a mobile telephone. The Competition Commission is to start a market inquiry in South Africa.