Call for permits for Uber taxis in effort to maintain peace
UBER drivers have been urged to apply for permits to bring peace to the metered taxi industry.
The Metered Taxi Association said the e-hailing permit for Uber and other e-hailing taxis had not yet been passed and with that, all drivers were supposed to apply for e-hailing permits under the metered taxis sub-category.
The frustration by the traditional metered taxi drivers comes when Uber drivers allegedly operate on their routes without permits.
“Uber drivers need to have permits. It is not like they (permits) will work against them or anything. Actually, there will not be much of a difference between us and them should they get those permits,” said secretary at Gauteng Metered Taxi Council Hendrick Ndou.
He told The Star yesterday that Uber drivers needed to apply for permits under metered taxi sub-category until their e-hailing permit was passed.
“We honestly do not have any problem with Uber, nor are we scared of competition but we need them to operate legally. We know that should they apply under our sub-category there will not be any difference on how we operate,” he said.
Ndou mentioned the only difference between it and Uber would be how they would be contacted by their customers. He said the only difference was that metered taxis got called, found at their holding bay or stopped while seen on the street, while Uber was contacted via an app.
Metered taxi drivers complained that Uber taxis took their customers right in front of them. They said public transport operated from a rank so they could be easily accessed by their customers.
Uber loaded anywhere they wanted to and hid behind the fact that they used apps.
Last week, Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi announced that Uber drivers needed to apply for licences and operating permits. He said once drivers got their permits, they would not operate everywhere.
“If you have a permit, you are given a specific route so you do not operate everywhere,” he said.
But even with allegations and the minister’s announcement for Uber drivers to apply for licences and operating permits, Uber maintained they already had operating licences.
“Driver-partners using the Uber app have completed the requisite steps in applying for their operating licences, under the current National Land Transport Act,” Uber spokesperson Samantha Allenberg said.
She said the MEC of Road and Transport Ismail Vadi announced that driver partners would be licensed under a sub category which they had already completed.
The Department of Transport had not responded to questions regarding legalities of both taxi industries by late yesterday.
You are given a specific route so you do not operate everywhere