'Uber operators do not fall under the same terms'

Metered taxi drivers say Uber does not operate in regulated areas with assigned departure & pick-up points.

Meter taxi drivers blocked roads in the Johannesburg CBD during a demonstration against the Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi. Picture: Emily Corke/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - A group of metered taxi drivers say Uber operators do not fall under the same terms and prices as they do, and have rejected the Transport Department's move to regulate Uber.

Yesterday, a group of metered taxi drivers blocked the road outside the Transport Department in the Johannesburg CBD with their cars, saying they'd been side-lined in the process of regulating Uber.

The taxi drivers were also seen chasing Transport MEC Ismail Vadi out of the building after he announced that Uber operators now have 30 days to register with the department.

Metered taxi driver Moses Sebadi says Uber drivers do not operate in regulated areas with assigned departure and pick-up points.

He says, therefore they cannot not be regulated along with metered taxi drivers.

"If I'm based in Sandton, then somebody comes to invade my space, then I won't work."

Metered taxi driver Sam Mudau says they are also angry that Uber entered the South African market through the back door and have been unregulated for so long.

"Everybody was happy, now this Uber business comes today and all of a sudden wants to control our country."

The drivers say they simply don't want Uber to operate at all.

VADI PUTS PRESSURE ON UBER

While the Gauteng Transport Department has said it is regulating Uber drivers to ensure they operate in a legal and fair manner, disgruntled metered taxi drivers say they want the service gone.

Vadi says the department has decided to regulate and legalise the Uber service, to ensure the continuation of a legal, affordable and modern transport industry.

But some metered taxi drivers say even if the Uber drivers are regulated in the same category as them, their terms of reference are still different.

Mudau says the Uber drivers operate on lower prices and it's killing their business.

He says the Uber operators should go altogether, or join the metered taxi industry.