Gauteng Roads and Transport on ending feud between Uber driver partners and metered taxis

Gauteng committed to ending feud between Uber driver partners and metered taxis

The Gauteng Provincial Government has, since 2015, been involved in various interventions aimed at ending violence and bringing peace in the metered taxi industry.

A series of meetings and workshops were facilitated by the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport and City of Johannesburg between the Gauteng Provincial Metered Taxi Council, its regional structures and Uber at the time.

This was revealed by MEC Ismail Vadi at the Provincial Legislature on Tuesday, 26 September 2017.

Vadi was responding to a Legislature question on what actions has the Department undertaken to put an end to the feud between metered taxi operators and Uber driver partners.

The purpose of these engagements was, amongst others, for Uber and its driver partners to gain clarity on operating license conditions, Uber to explain its technological application and business model to conventional metered taxi operators as well as for metered taxi structures to clarify the process by which Uber driver partners could become members of metered taxi councils.

As a result of these engagements, an estimated 1 650 metered taxi operators have since joined the Uber platform, MEC Vadi elaborated.

Between May 2016 and July 2017, the Department received a total of 2 321 applications for operating licenses from Uber partner drivers. Of these, 624 have been approved and a further 209 are pending approval.

The remaining applications are still being considered by the administration.

Vadi added that in September 2016, a Provincial Cabinet Sub-Committee on Taxis constituted by Premier Makhura met with the leadership of provincial and regional taxi structures to discuss their concerns regarding Uber.

This engagement could not reach agreement due to internal divisions within the metered taxi operators themselves - there were those who supported the business opportunities provided by the technological innovation offered by Uber and those who, in principle, opposed Uber and called for its operations to be banned in the country.

In reaction to on-going protests initiated by the so-called Metered Taxi Concerned Group, Minister of Transport Joe Maswanganyi in July 2017 met with the leadership of Metered Taxi Councils, Metered Taxi Concerned Group and representatives of Uber.

"At these meetings, the Minister emphasised that all public transport operators must have valid operating licenses and that violent attacks between metered taxi operators, Uber and other private company operators should come to an end, Vadi said.

Furthermore, Minister Maswanganyi, accompanied by then Acting MEC for Roads and Transport and MEC for Community Safety had undertaken inspections on metered taxi and Uber operations in and around Sandton Gautrain Station.

A visit by Gauteng Premier, MECs for Community Safety and Roads and Transport, to the Pretoria Station duly followed.

"On 17 September 2017, Premier Makhura, joined by MECs for Community Safety, Finance and Roads and Transport met law enforcement agencies to discuss focused interventions to put an end to the ongoing violence between Uber and metered taxi drivers," said Vadi.

Source: Government of South Africa