Durban - E-HAILING services claim to vet their drivers before accepting them into their companies but despite vetting, there have been numerous criminal incidents where passengers were robbed or attacked, allegedly by the drivers from these services.
Four men are on trial in the Johannesburg High Court for allegedly posing as Uber drivers and attacking women in Johannesburg. They are facing charges of rape, kidnapping, robbery, attempted rape, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and attempted murder.
In a separate incident, Taxify, now Bolt, is investigating claims where two Cape Town women were stabbed by one of their drivers, after it emerged that they did not have fare money.
On its vetting processes, Uber said in a statement, its drivers have a Professional Drivers Permit (PrDP), which is checked against the traffic licensing department’s database.
Part of the permit includes a criminal background check, where the driver undergoes police clearance.
“We assure you that all our drivers hold an operating double disc which they received from the licensing department, this indicates that their vehicle is allowed to move you from A to B,” the statement said.
Thereafter, drivers undergo a fingerprint identification system check (Automated Fingerprint identification systems).
Vehicles have to pass an inspection test to ensure they are roadworthy, which is done at Uber’s Approved Inspection Centre.
The roadworthy test is apparently conducted annually.
“Upon registration, all drivers submit their Roadworthy Certificate that corresponds with the registration number of the vehicle saved on their Uber profile.”
According to Uber, drivers must also pass a third-party driving evaluation test which tests the driver’s ability to drive safely and according to road regulations.
Similarly, Bolt country manager in South Africa, Gareth Taylor, said their drivers required a PrDP.
“Bolt does a further fingerprint-based check through the government’s fingerprint database. Only persons with a clear record are permitted to join the platform,” Taylor said.
He said passengers should report any incident experienced in relation to a ride with Bolt, by logging it via the “Support” section on the app. This is accessed by touching the rider’s profile button on the top left of the home screen, and a drop-down menu will supply options.
Chairperson of the SA Metered Taxi Association (Samta) and chief executive of Eagle Taxis, Faye Freedman, said metered taxis abide by company and industry regulations to ensure the public is transported safely, because their companies are registered with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, SA Revenue Service and Workman’s Compensation.
“We vet all of our drivers and after they have been accepted, they progress to a learnership, where they will acquire our company-specific driver requirements.
“During the learnership, our drivers undergo driver training,” Freedman said.
Kuben Moodley of U-Cabs and member of Samta, said all of their drivers must have a PrDP and a police clearance.
Moodley said their drivers have uniforms and drive branded vehicles.
“Drivers also undergo driving tests by one of our senior staff to check their ability to drive.”