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CT Uber drivers to operate with same license as metered taxis

Uber launched a petition to put pressure on officials to fast track the issuing of licenses.

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

JOHANNESBURG - In an effort to regulate the transport industry the Provincial Regulating Entity has approved 145 operating license applications for Uber drivers and will now operate using the same license as metered taxi drivers.

Uber launched an online petition last week to put pressure on provincial officials to fast track the issuing of licenses after 200 cars belonging to its drivers were impounded.

Western Cape MEC for Transport and Public Works, Siphesihle Dube, says this is just an interim solution until the regulatory laws are amended.

"For all terms and purposes the interim solution is that they will operate as meter taxis with certain pay structure, as well as ways in which they interact with commuters."

He says this will allow a future framework to introduce innovative improvements.

"In acknowledging that Uber is quite innovative and support of any other innovative way that are out there that can make public transport safer and better."

Meanwhile, 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.

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