Uber drivers strike near Zoo Lake in Johannesburg. Image via @NonsindisSibeko on Twitter.
CAPE TOWN - A group of taxi drivers that use app-based platforms such as Uber have been accused of pulling over fellow drivers in Johannesburg, in order to protest. 

Divers from Uber are protesting the fact that fares have remained the same even though there has been a VAT increase and a massive petrol price hike. 

According to Business Day police in Johannesburg are at the scene. 

Uber said in June that despite the steep petrol price increase the "fares will not be adjusted at this time". 

The petrol price increased in June to R15.54 for 93 octane and R15.79 for 95 octane. The price of Diesel hit R14.19.

This was a 5% increase. 

UBER STATEMENT

Samantha Allenberg, Uber spokesperson told Business Tech: “We always consider driver economics in each of the cities that they operate in and after years of global experience, what we‘ve seen in cities across the world is that lower fares mean greater demand, lower pickup times and more trips per hour — increasing earning potential and creating better economics for drivers.

“We’re committed to supporting the men and women who drive with Uber across South Africa and we understand that fuel is one of the biggest weekly expenses for drivers which is why drivers can access rewards that help them reduce costs and keep more of their earnings. This exclusive programme provides deals such as fuel rebates, cell phone deals, maintenance and health care.”

TAXI, BUS FARES TO ALSO GO UP

National Taxi Alliance (NTA) spokesperson, Theo Malele, said earlier this month that taxi commuters may be forced to brace themselves for fare increases.

“For us, the fare increase is related to fuel increases and subsidy. Fuel price increases most commodities; the taxi industry also has operational costs and it needs to survive because currently, we are operating on a shoestring budget".

“A lot of people think taxi operators are making billions of rand when in reality the poor guys are finding it difficult to make ends meet, simply because government relaxed its responsibility of looking after its citizens,” Malele said.

He said taxi fares would not go up overnight, but would gradually increase to give commuters time to adjust.

“The respective associations will give sufficient warning to the commuting public that we will be increasing fares.

“So the public must be on the lookout for an increase. Another reason for the fare increase is because we have seen several ministers talking about the taxi industry getting a subsidy imminently, but to date, we have not seen any of the thoughts come into effect.

“It is a pity that there is nothing the taxi operators can do at this point,” Malele said.

Golden Arrow Bus Services expect the change to happen “in the next few months”.


-BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE