Hope for Gauteng e-hailing, metered taxi operators
Pretoria - Metered taxi drivers in Gauteng have met Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo to iron out issues that are leading to turf wars within the sector.
The intervention followed a march by e-hailing operators to Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula’s office during which they called for the government to regulate the e-hailing sector.
Gauteng Metered Taxi Council general secretary Hendrick Ndou said that for the first time they could “see the light” and were impressed by Mamabolo's “relentless ambitions to bring the peaceful integration of the sector”.
There was an agreement that the next meeting should include Uber, Bolt and InDriver drivers because any agreement reached would not mean much if they were not involved.
Ndou said: “We agreed with the MEC that e-hailing operators may be called partners by these big companies, but they actually have very limited influence and are not happy.
"We have a situation whereby some of us are charging the same amount for a trip and others just 50% of that, and this creates tension.
"The customers benefit, but the drivers who own and service the cars are unhappy."
He said ultimately the goal was for the metered taxi industry to also have an app but they had since discovered that IT people were taking advantage of the tension and lobbying government to assist with funding.
Mamabolo said that among important issues under discussion were turf wars between various modes of public transport that often resulted in instability and bloodshed.
“The meeting with this sector, my first in this term, lays an important foundation for addressing issues that relate specifically to the tumultuous relations between metered taxis and e-hailing services. These engagements are quite crucial if we are to integrate all modes of public transport and foster smart mobility,” said Mamabolo.
Via its Growing Gauteng Together Through Smart Mobility vision, the department has prioritised the integration of all modes of public transport as an enabler for efficient movement of people. Said Mamabolo: “For way too long, issues arising from development of new settlements and technologies in public transport have been left to operators. We, as the sixth administration, have put these at the top of our agenda to intervene, and ensure peace and stability in the system as a basis to integrate these modes."
Mamabolo added that Gauteng was a small province with a high population density, and the task of creating a seamless, integrated system involving all modes of public transport would make travelling more cost-effective and convenient. He committed to ongoing engagements with the sector “in an effort to improve it for the benefit of the people of Gauteng”.