File picture: Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters
Pretoria – Uber drivers have been urged to apply for permits so there can be peace in the metered-taxi industry.

The Metered Taxi Association said the e-hailing permit for Uber and other e-hailing taxis had not yet been passed and with that, all drivers were supposed to apply for e-hailing permits under the metered-taxi sub-category. Traditional metered-taxi drivers claim that Uber drivers operate on their routes without permits.

“Uber drivers need to have permits," said Gauteng Meter Taxi Council secretary Hendrick Ndou. "it is not like they will work against them or anything. Actually there will not be much of a difference between us and them should they get those permits.”

Ndou said on Tuesday Uber drivers needed to apply for permits under the metered-taxi sub-category.

'Not scared of competition'

“We honestly do not have any problem with Uber," he insisted, "nor are we scared of competition, but we need them to operate legally. We know that should they apply under our sub-category there will not be any difference in how we operate.”

Ndou mentioned the only difference between metered taxis and Uber would be how they would be contacted by their customers. Metered taxis were called, found at a holding bay or stopped while seen on the streets, while Uber was contacted via its App.

Metered-taxi drivers complained that Uber taxis took their customers away in front of them. They said public transport operated from a rank so they could be easily accessed by their customers, but Uber loaded anywhere they wanted and hid behind the fact that they used apps.

Last week transport minister Joe Maswanganyi announced that Uber drivers needed to apply for licences and operating permits. He said once drivers got their permits they would not operate everywhere.

“If you have a permit, you are given a specific route so you do not operate everywhere,” he said.

Process completed 

But, even with allegations and the minister’s announcement that Uber drivers have to apply for licences and operating permits, Uber maintained it had operating licences.

Uber spokesperson Samantha Allenberg said: “Driver-partners using the Uber app have completed the requisite steps in applying for their Operating Licences under the current National Land Transport Act.” 

She said MEC for roads and transport Ismail Vadi announced that driver partners would be licensed under a sub category and they had already completed this process.

The department of transport had not responded to questions regarding metered taxis and Uber by late on Tuesday.

Pretoria News

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