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'Uber must register or be taken off the road'

Gauteng Transport MEC says Uber must register & abide by the same regulations as metered taxis.

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

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - Gauteng Transport MEC Ismail Vadi has said Uber, an online ride-hailing service, will have to register with the department and abide by the same regulations as metered taxis or face being taken off the roads.

Vadi this week met with Uber management as well as representatives from the Meter Taxi Association over unhappiness about the Uber system.

The Meter Taxi Association has complained that Uber is not subjected to the same government rules and operates at a much cheaper cost.

Vadi said they've realised that Uber is not legally regulated.

"At the moment there is a lacuna in the legislation between a Meter Taxi Association under chartered services, it does not accommodate Uber from a legal point of view."

He said Uber is willing to register and some application forms have already been received by the state.

"In principle, we've told them they have to register, if not they will not be allowed to operate. They will be an illegal operator. I think there's willingness on their part."

Another meeting between all the parties is due to take place next week.

LISTEN: Ayub Baker, former chairman of the Western Cape Metered Taxi Council, discusses whether Uber's application for drivers to legally operate will force the metered taxi industry to change its game plan.

Meanwhile, drivers using the Uber app in Cape Town can breathe a sigh of relief following several months of waiting for an operating licence.

The Provincial Regulating Entity approved 201 metered taxi operating licence applications on Thursday, of which 145 were for Uber partners.

It comes after Uber complained that no permits had been issued since the beginning of the year.

Uber's popularity has sparked tension in the cab industry both in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

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.

The Western Cape Metered Taxi Council's Ayub Baker said tempers had flared.

"We're managed not to have a violent protest, which is something that these people were trying to punt, but the chairman calmed everybody down."

Uber has also caused ructions in other parts of the world, the service was suspended in France, banned in Germany and law makers are looking to curb the number of Uber drivers on the road in New York.