Uber and Bolt drivers took to the streets to complain about their safety and that of passengers, unfair blocking of drivers, unsustainable rates and high commission. File Picture: AP
Uber and Bolt drivers took to the streets to complain about their safety and that of passengers, unfair blocking of drivers, unsustainable rates and high commission. File Picture: AP

Uber, Bolt take to the streets to force government to hear their pleas

By Botho Molosankwe Time of article published Mar 9, 2021

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Johannesburg - Many people who depend on e-hailing services Uber and Bolt were left high and dry as the drives of those companies embarked on a two day strike as of Tuesday.

The protesters complain about the alleged unfair blocking of drivers, unsustainable rates, high commission that charged by the service provider as well as the safety of drivers and clients.

Last year, one of the drivers who had been with Bolt since its early days in 2016 when it was still called Taxify said the commission or interest charged by the e-hailing app service provider went up by 50% in the last four years.

The drivers want Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula to use his power to change their working conditions. They were expected to drive in convoy from Alexandra to Johannesburg CBD.

From there, they were to march on foot to the office of Gauteng Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo to hand over a memorandum detailing their grievance.

Last year, Bolt and Uber drivers compiled a petition detailing their issues and asked people to sign it.

In the petition, the drivers said they were easy targets because they drive alone and were easily recognizable.

“Meter taxi violence and intimidation has escalated at an alarming rate, attacks becoming more frequent and brutal. A petrol bomb was thrown into an Uber car recently, the driver was in ICU, unable to talk, his car a burnt out shell.

“Another was beaten and his face slashed with a knife. He managed to get away while they were trying to force him into the boot but now needs surgery to insert a metal plate in his face. Probably 99% of attacks happen when a driver is alone so there are no witnesses,” the petition said.

Last year October, Mbalula said the government intends on regulating e-hailing services in South Africa.

Mbalula said the registration of associations and effective regulation of e-hailing services were urgent tasks that government needs attend to.

He added that e-hailing had been operating without regulation and that had been a major point of difference between government and the taxi industry.

“There is no Uber or taxi that is going to go up and down here unregulated. This lekgotla empowers us. E-hailing has been operating in our country without any regulations,” he said at the time.

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