I need to correct some of the assumptions made by the author.
The City of Cape Town was an early adopter of e-hailing and one of the first in South Africa to embrace the technology to hail metered taxis. We worked with operators to find a regulatory solution to license Uber drivers soon after Uber started operating here.
We had and continue to host substantial engagements with metered taxi owners and e-hailing operators about public transport operating licences in an effort to ensure that operators can operate lawfully and that the market is not oversupplied.
We reached an agreement with Uber on the number of operating licences the City would support based on their first business plan, which set out anticipated demand, and then set about assisting applicants to proceed with the application process.
Unfortunately, many applicants who started the process did not see it through to the end, and so we had an agreed number of licences that was not fully subscribed while new operators wanted to enter the market.
In addition, we had operators who never concluded the application process but continued to provide a public transport service and were thus operating unlawfully without a licence.
It is important to clarify that companies like Uber and Taxify are not metered taxi operators or public transport operators. Uber and Taxify offer electronic hailing platforms which merely allow customers to hail and pay for a taxi electronically.
Therefore, Uber and Taxify do not require any public transport operating licences. However, those metered taxi operators who are picking up passengers through the Uber and Taxify platforms do need public transport operating licences.
The Transport and Urban Development Authority has a dedicated section that processes the formal and informal direction letters of all modes of public transport services (minibus taxi, metered taxi, staff, scholar, etc.). Thus, the City does in fact have dedicated resources.
We have been playing our part to best assist all public transport operators, including Uber operators, and have not delayed issuing our letters of support.
* Brett Herron | Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.