Uber also facing challenges in New York

The cab-hailing service is coming under pressure across the globe, including in South Africa.

New York City. Picture: AFP.

NEW YORK - While online cab-hailing service Uber faces troubles in South Africa, it also continues to be plagued by issues abroad.

In New York, where the app has been a huge success, it now faces a new challenge from a bill that wants to cap the number of permits for Uber cars.

In a four years since Uber became active in New York, it's been a significant challenge to one of the city's symbols, the Bigelow Taxi.

So much so there are now more Uber vehicles on the road than traditional cabs, although the trips made by these vehicles aren't quite as many.

But legislators are looking to curb a number of Uber cars, saying they are responsible for driving up traffic and increasing harmful emissions.

Closer to home, 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 incentives 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 Western Cape 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.

Meanwhile, the City of Joburg said it's working to address regulation and policy issues around the operation of Uber in Johannesburg.

There have been several reports of Uber drivers being intimidated by metered taxi drivers, who are unhappy about having to share the same routes in Sandton and other major areas.


On Friday an illegal protest was held outside Uber's offices in Johannesburg by metered taxi drivers.

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 was killing their business because the online cab hailing service was 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.