The Western Cape Metered Taxi Council (WCMTC) has rejected violence in light of increasing tensions between metered taxi drivers and ride-hailing application Uber.
“We are opposed to all violence, and we will protect the rights and safety of customers and therefore we need to engage correctly to make clients and industry aware regarding what is legal,” said WCMTC chair Aldino Muller.
The statement comes shortly after allegations that Uber customers Kerri Lehmann and Lauren-Lee Poultney were accosted by taxi drivers as they walked to an Uber car outside Sandton Gautrain station.
Muller said that it was critical to identify and expose pirate operators.
“This is why vehicle identification is important, the recent violence can be construed to possibly be illegals operating, as the victims could not identify any signage.”
Following the incident with Lehmann and Poultney, Uber apologised and refunded R51,47 for the trip.
Taxi drivers are upset that Uber appears to be able to operate, while they are constrained from competing due to the regulatory framework, among other issues.
In France and India, Uber has also faced mass protests as government officials grapple with how to deal with the firm that has disrupted the taxi industry.
Muller regards Uber as a pirate taxi operation and recently the California-based company has had 200 vehicles impounded by the City of Cape Town.
“An unmarked vehicle operating as a taxi is setting a dangerous precedent, and Uber advocates this. The council wants to implement regulatory signage that will make metered taxis safe, identifiable and accountable to clients and law enforcement,” Muller said. — Fin24