Uber drivers in protest after being prevented from operating from Cape Town International Airport
Scenes of mayhem broke out at Cape Town International Airport when Uber drivers, disgruntled by being restricted from operating at the airport by drivers of metered taxis.
On Wednesday, close to a hundred Uber drivers protested at Cape Town Airport. Uber drivers claim they have been prevented from operating or gaining access to Cape Town Airport by metred cab drivers and have been subjected to harassment and vandalism of their Uber vehicles. Some Uber drivers even stated that the conflict had gotten so out of hand that they now feared for their own safety.
Frustrated Uber drivers took to demonstration and protested at the airport after 74 Uber Vehicles were impounded for being in contravention of their operating license, the majority of them were operating without a public transport operational licence whatsoever. Some Uber drivers even stated that they of the belief, that this clampdown was orchestrated by owners of Meter Cab companies.
The epicentre of the tensions with Uber drivers in Cape Town was primarily that The City Council had been delaying the issuing of operating permits to drivers, the backlog of pending permits have left some applicants waiting close to four years.
Brett Herron the Mayoral committee member for transport and urban development denied claims of a system backlog for permits issued, he stated that there were several reasons for operating licence applicants being declined such as drivers’ documentation not being in order, amongst others; Vehicle ownership, SARS Returns and Home Affairs documents not being correct or submitted at all
JP Smith the Mayoral committee member of safety and security stated that the provincial government and Cape Town City Council were in discussions to fast-track legislation in the Western Cape. The new traffic legislation in the province would see more adequate and efficient processes of law enforcement on the roads and issuing of permits to public transport service providers within the Western Cape.
Even in light of new provincial legislation, the complication for Uber drivers persists for now as the Uber vehicles that were impounded for operating illegally will allegedly cost around R9000 to release from impound.
Uber spokesperson stated that they understand the frustration of their drivers and the backlog of issuing permits needed to be rectified urgently to prevent commuters from experiencing any further disruptions in transport.