Call for per­mits for Uber taxis in ef­fort to main­tain peace

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - VIRGILATTE GWANGWA

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

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