Taxi drivers protest Uber - as it happened

2015-01-29 11:32

Taxi drivers have taken to the streets in their hundreds in Cape Town to protest the newly launched app-based ride-hailing service Uber.


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Last Updated at 06:56
29 Jan 13:24

29 Jan 13:24

29 Jan 13:24

29 Jan 13:24
Fin24 user Pascal Fabre said: "I have used Uber a few times recently. I am very impressed with the efficiency and affordability of using the service. 10 out of 10."

29 Jan 13:23
Fin24 user Christopher Underwood wrote: "I have always had positive experiences with Uber, they have been professional and the service has been easy and reliable. However, I wouldn't want to use them if they are unlicensed (at the expense of a licensed taxi). Is there a way for one check if the driver has the correct licenses before getting into the taxi?"

29 Jan 13:22
Anthony le Roux, GM for Uber Cape Town has just been interviewed by tech editor Gareth van Zyl about the protests against Uber in Cape Town:

29 Jan 13:21
Regarding the protests, le Roux told Fin24: “A number of operators who work on Uber are from the taxi industry. It gives them more power to be their own operators."

29 Jan 13:20
Uber has raised the point with the City of Cape Town that Uber drivers in Johannesburg only need  chartered services licences, which are less onerous to attain.  But le Roux said that Uber is trying to comply with Cape Town metered taxi permits in the short term.

29 Jan 13:20
Le Roux said that in the short term that quickest route involves applying for metered taxi permits, as per the City of Cape Town’s requirements. A number of Uber drivers have already started applying for this licence.

29 Jan 13:18
Le Roux told Fin24 that Uber Cape Town is looking for the most efficient route to licensing its drivers.

29 Jan 13:16
Le Roux: “We (Uber) continue to have constructive engagements with the city.”

29 Jan 13:16
Uber's Le Roux: “The issue here is that we are offering a disruptive technology."

29 Jan 13:16
Anthony le Roux, GM for Uber Cape Town has just been interviewed by tech editor Gareth van Zyl about the protests against Uber in Cape Town.

29 Jan 13:11
Fin24's Matthew le Cordeur went to the scene of the protest, where he interviewed David Drummond, vice chairperson of the Western Cape Metered Taxi Council. Watch the full interview:

29 Jan 13:11
David Drummond: "There is absolute unity. The guys don't want to leave, even though we have to disperse at 12:00. We have reminded them that we have to disperse, but they want to go have lunch and chat and discuss the industry. It is not often that the industry gets together and unite as one."

29 Jan 13:06
David Drummond: "There were about 40 different taxi companies present today. ... We had independent operators, small operators and fleets (and all fleet groups were represented today)."

29 Jan 13:05
David Drummond: "Officially, we were only allowed 200 and we estimated about 230 [protesters today] and we were only allowed 20 cars, and we probably had 50 cars available, but ended with about 25 in the march."

29 Jan 13:03
David Drummond: We are the portal to control that and we are the link between the members and the city and we hope the city will take out hand and assist us in doing that.

29 Jan 13:03
David Drummond: "The mini bus taxis are a perfect example; it was never controlled and that led to violence and intimidation. We are not there yet, and should the authorities not control that, that is where we are headed."

29 Jan 12:58
David Drummond: "We fear that we are not going to be able to control our members going forward, so we feel that this is the opportunity for the province and city to collectively get together and deal with the issue at hand."

29 Jan 12:57
David Drummond said the vice chairperson of the Western Cape Metered Taxi Council handed over their memorandum to the director general of the Western Cape transport department. "He accepted our memorandum and has offered to give us at least seven days to respond. Failing that,  our members have instructed us to meet again."

29 Jan 12:55
David Drummond: "That was a big part of our march today and the frustration has been aired by our members. The fact that Uber has not created any new market - they've created it on our existing market and that has put a lot of pressure on our members."

29 Jan 12:54
David Drummond: There has been a response against Uber. We have no objection with the app; however, if you want to use the application, it must be done in a legal metered taxi, which has a roof sign, has a metered taxi inside the car. And Uber does not operate in those conditions; therefore they are contravening the conditions that we have struggled to uphold, that we've struggled to get, they we've struggled to apply for. They've entered the market and have been allowed to operate at will."

29 Jan 12:34
Have you ever used an Uber taxi? Share your experience

29 Jan 12:33
Le Roux: "The reality here is that you've got a disruptive innovator coming into the market. You've got a business model that doesn't necessarily fit into any operating licence category and really, this is where you see that innovation is leading the regulation."

29 Jan 12:33
Anthony le Roux, Uber general manager for Cape Town told Fin24 on a drive around the city: "The rationale behind that is that the City [of Cape Town] says that the vehicles don't have the correct operating licences, but from our side, we've been engaging with the province and the city since early last year to try and figure out what exactly is the correct category to fit the product in."

29 Jan 12:31
David Drummond: "The City of Cape Town has identified 100 metered taxis operating with absolutely zero legality whatsoever. Our job is to get these off the street."

29 Jan 12:24
David Drummond, vice chairperson of the Western Cape Metered Taxi Council, told Fin24 today: "Today's march is on our members that are in the City of Cape Town. We are predominantly marching against illegal taxi operators. These are not people that are standing in the wrong street or area. These are people that have no permits, are not authorised at all."

29 Jan 12:21
Ayob Baker, chairperson of the Western Cape Metered Taxi Council told media last year that Uber was operating illegally. “Uber uses cars that have charter permits, which charge a flat fee, and then the app calculates distances, which Baker insists is not allowed in South Africa,” reported Times Live in 2014.

29 Jan 12:19

What is Uber

Uber is an app-based transportation network and taxi company headquartered in San Francisco, California, which operates in cities in many countries. The company uses a smartphone application to receive ride requests and then sends these trip requests to their drivers. Customers use the app to request rides and track their reserved vehicle's location.

29 Jan 12:18
Fin24 user Rhett Hammond wrote: “It’s about transparency and fairness.”

29 Jan 12:18
Fin24 user Rhett Hammond wrote: “The cost of the service should not fluctuate wildly and unpredictably and that there should be some sort of cap on pricing set at some multiple of the usual fares during high demand period with an acknowledgment that not all demand will be met at these times.”

29 Jan 12:17
Fin24 user Rhett Hammond wrote: “I think that Uber should be aware that in creating this auction environment, they allowing for the potential for unhappy experiences for clients, which will put people off the service.”

29 Jan 12:15
Consumer sentiment is divided though, and Fin24 user Jlo Dup wrote about her Uber experience: "The driver who collected us had no idea where the highway was. He stalled the car several times and almost drove us into a concrete wall getting onto the highway. He drove to Carletonville in Alberton. And THEN drove up a one way. He drove 60km/hr in the fast lane. I had to navigate him because he had NO idea where he was going. The drive took 1.5 hrs, but normally takes 30 minutes. And then to top it: a R600 trip cost me R1 423. I got NO email or warning from Uber regarding the price increase on New Year's Eve. And the same happened on 30 December. The Uber driver had NO idea where to go. They are a high risk to drive with. I won't make use of them again. I'd rather pay a bit more for the metered drivers and know I'm safe."

29 Jan 12:12
Fin24 user Kay Hansen wrote: "We recently had a weeks holiday in Cape Town. We needed to get to the airport and my son, who was also on holiday with us from Dubai and has used Uber all over the world, introduced us to this concept. We were picked up in Bakoven and it took us 20 minutes to the airport. We were absolutely delighted with the service. As we got into the car we were offered ice cold cold drinks or water. We were not stranded nor stopped by traffic police. If you ask me, this is just another way for the government to squeeze more money out of the tax payer!"

29 Jan 12:10
Fin24 user Keith wrote: "Unlike most taxi services, Uber is a great service and transparent in pricing and routing. I am surprised about the sensationalism this creates in the media."

29 Jan 12:10
Uber: "In the short time we have been in South Africa, Uber has created over 2 000 jobs. This number could easily grow to over 15 000 in the next two years."

29 Jan 12:07

29 Jan 12:07
Uber: "Despite today's protest, Uber will continue to provide our world-class service to the people of Cape Town. We will continue to train and upskill all partner-drivers and provide them with as many benefits as we can, so they can grow and succeed in their businesses. Safety, reliability, innovation and choice – not protests – are what draw consumers to the transport of the future."

29 Jan 12:05

29 Jan 12:05
Uber: "Our technology is open and pro-choice and we are keen to offer it to a broad number of taxi drivers to boost their occupancy rates and chances for profit. Uber has already created 2000 jobs since launching in South Africa and could easily create 15 000 more in the next two years."

29 Jan 12:04
Uber statement: "Uber is all about keeping Cape Town moving - bringing a safe, reliable and flexible solution to urban transport at the tap of a button. We’re proud to be bringing more choice to Cape Town - to riders and drivers alike."

29 Jan 12:03
Uber spokesperson Samantha Allenberg told Fin24 that they were aware of the metered taxi protest happening in Cape Town. 

29 Jan 12:03
Fin24's Matthew le Cordeur: David Drummond is the vice chairperson of the Western Cape Metered Taxi Council. He warned members of the protest to get ready to split up by 12:00, as police would arrest anyone after this time if they were still seen in a group.

29 Jan 12:01
Fin24's Matthew le Cordeur: I rushed to the scene as soon as we heard about the protest. I waved down a taxi driver with a passenger in his taxi and he offered to take me to the base camp. The passenger didn't seem to mind. Speaking to me about the taxi industry, he said it was really unfair having illegal metered cabs like Uber driving around. "Most people catch mini-bus taxis and busses into town, so it's important that our industry is regulated, because it is quite competitive market. People rely on us to be affordable." Within a minute, I was dropped where a group of protesters were cooling off, discussing what the next step would be after their protest.

29 Jan 11:55

29 Jan 11:54
Uber says it has already created 2000 jobs in South Africa and aims to create up to 15 000 over the next two years.

29 Jan 11:51
Anthony le Roux explains the Uber safety procedures in this video interview with Fin24's Duncan Alfreds.

29 Jan 11:50

Uber's Anthony le Roux on the City impounding verhicles: The rationale behind that is that the City [of Cape Town] says that the vehicles don't have the correct operating licences, but from our side, we've been engaging with the province and the city since early last year to try and figure out what exactly is the correct category to fit the product in.

29 Jan 11:49

About 220 people and up to 30 cars are taking part in the protest.

Pic: Dane McDonald, Fin24

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