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Uber, Bolt drivers demand protection from exploitation

File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Published Oct 13, 2020

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Cape Town – Several e-hailing drivers in the Western Cape, Gauteng and the Free State did not operate yesterday, demanding that the companies they work for be regulated so they are protected from exploitation.

The Uber and Bolt drivers said they wanted to draw government’s attention to their grievances in light of National Transport Month.

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A Bolt driver who has been with the company for about three years said he was at home yesterday and not taking any rides, adding that drivers were taking little to nothing home because Bolt’s commission was too high.

“It’s over 30% every trip you drive, and the fare is too low. Operating costs are all on the driver. Fuel is expensive, as is data and car maintenance, and they don’t want to listen to drivers. Bolt never listens to their drivers.

’’They are taking so much commission. They are charging less. They keep decreasing their prices yet they keep taking more from their drivers,” he said.

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A driver for Uber said he was offline yesterday because of lack of protection for drivers who often put their lives at risk.

“It’s about the spate of robberies and mistreatment from the taxi operators and traffic cops, and there is a lack of protection for us.”

Deputy secretary of the SA E-hailing Association Trevor Mathebula said there was little to no security for drivers, and he called for new and more effective solutions .

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Some drivers have indicated they will continue the strike today.

Country manager of Bolt SA, Gareth Taylor said: “Bolt respects every driver’s right to protest legally, peacefully and without impacting the rights of other drivers who choose to continue to operate and earn an income.

’’Bolt unequivocally condemns any form of violence directed towards e-hailing drivers and passengers because it believes that every South African has the right to earn a living and move around without risk of harm, intimidation or coercion. Bolt engages with its driver-partners through a variety of channels, electronic and face-to-face.”

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An Uber spokesperson said: “Uber’s team is closely monitoring this and based on the information we have, this protest is not directly related to Uber.

’’We, however, want to take this opportunity to remind and encourage drivers to make use of the various options to engage directly with Uber.”

Cape Times

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