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Regulatory meeting to decide on Uber licences

The cab hailing service’s popularity has seen some of its drivers being harassed by metered cab drivers.

The online ride-hailing service Uber. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - A member of the Western Cape Metered Taxi Council has warned that allowing Uber drivers to legally operate will have a negative impact on the industry by driving down profit and reducing incentive to invest in cab businesses.

The online ride-hailing service's growth in Cape Town and Johannesburg has outstripped major cities such as San Francisco and London in those cities' first year.

But Uber's popularity has seen some of its drivers being harassed by competing cab drivers.

The Provincial Regulatory Entity will meet on Thursday to consider operating licence applications for Uber drivers in Cape Town.

Metered Taxi Council member Ayub Baker said issuing new permits won't be good for the sector.

Earlier this week, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille weighed in on the row.

She said the province had to take into account a legal requirement to prevent overtrading as well as the comments of current licence holders, before issuing new licences.

Uber's General Manager for Cape Town Jonathan Ayache said overtrading is not an issue right now.

LISTEN: Uber's GM in the SADC region, Alon Lits, discusses issues facing Uber drivers after some were allegedly threatened by meter taxi drivers over shared routes in Sandton and other lucrative areas.

'UBER WILL LEAVE US JOBLESS'

Angry metered taxi drivers in Sandton said they fear they may end up jobless because Uber doesn't adhere to the same rules as local cab drivers.

There've been several cases of intimidation recently in which Uber drivers have been targeted along major routes.

On Tuesday, metered taxi operators met with Johannesburg Transport MMC Christine Walters to discuss regulations and policy issues in the industry.

Several metered taxi drivers said Uber is killing their business because the online cab hailing service is operating on its own terms.

"You'll find that we in the field will be charging R150 and Uber will charge R10. It's killing our business. If you see how many metered taxis are in Johannesburg, those people are going to be out of jobs."

They've called for Uber to join the Taxi Council and be regulated like local cab drivers.

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