Taxi association allegedly threatens e-hailing services to stop operations
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DURBAN - TENSION is brewing between taxis and e-hailing operators in Durban after the St Wendolins/Klaarwater Taxi Association near Pinetown allegedly issued threats to the e-hailing drivers to stop operating on their routes.
In a letter directed at the e-hailing operators, that the Daily News has seen, the association said as of Monday they were not expecting any of the e-hailing vehicles on their routes.
“The above organisation has taken a decision to inform you. We are not begging or asking you but we are informing you that as of Monday (August 9) we do not want to see your vehicles in our area and those who will continue thereafter will see what will happen,” read the letter.
It further said many of the association’s taxis were parked at home because their business had been taken away by e-hailing operators. The Daily News contacted the association office. A woman took the call but declined to comment.
An Uber driver who asked not to be named told the Daily News on Wednesday they were working under difficult and dangerous conditions. He said they had been warned several times not to go to certain areas which made it difficult because they were paid on a commission basis.
“It means we will lose our jobs. Almost all the associations do not want us on their routes. We are no longer operating in KwaMashu, Ntuzuma, Clermont and it’s now Klaarwater so it means we will only move around Durban central and the nearest suburbs. There is no work there because most people own cars,” said the Uber driver.
South African National Taxi Council provincial spokesperson Sifiso Shangase blamed the government for not regulating e-hailing services in the country. He said the taxi industry was regulated under the National Land Transport Act but the government allowed e-hailing to get into the market without proper regulatory measures which created unfair competition.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said police would ensure the safety.
In a statement, Uber said the company was keen to work with taxis to boost their profit but intimidation against people who want to use the Uber app or any other app was unacceptable.