Western Cape metered taxi operators have called on the government to put the reins on Uber, a mobile app that allows users to order a cab on their cellphone and pay the fare with their credit card.
Chairman of the Western Cape Metered Taxi Council Ayob Baker said Uber is operating illegally.
But the Cape is not the only place where the service has irked taxi operators. Last week thousands of taxi drivers in Berlin, London, Paris and Madrid protested about the inroads Uber is making into their business.
“Uber operates illegally based on our legislation of transport services,” Baker claimed.
The problem is that most of the vehicles Uber uses for its service have no operating permit.
Uber uses cars that have “charter permits”, which charge a flat fee, and then the app calculates distances, which Baker insists is not allowed in South Africa.
Metered taxis usually charge R11/km – Uber charges only R7.
He said the “Uber Black” app, which contracts mostly luxury vehicles, had no effect on his business but the launch last week of “UberX”, which uses mostly downmarket cars, could pry away some of his customers.
Uber’s local general manager, Anthony le Roux, said UberX used registered metered taxi operators who had licences.
“A lot of these guys are already working with us. It’s those guys who aren’t interested in working with us who are giving negative feedback ,” said Le Roux.
He said Cape Town was working on updating its regulations to accommodate this new category of taxi service.
Motjhane Mabote, general secretary of the Gauteng Metered Taxi Council, said Uber was not a threat to his members.
“Most metered taxi customers in Gauteng are not fussy about the type of vehicle used,” said Mabote.