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E-hailing taxi drivers in the Western Cape seek urgent intervention

Drivers from Uber, Bolt, Didi and InDriver have pleaded with the government and the public to help them in a dispute with the apps they drive for. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency(ANA)

Drivers from Uber, Bolt, Didi and InDriver have pleaded with the government and the public to help them in a dispute with the apps they drive for. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Nov 12, 2021

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Cape Town - E-hailing drivers in the Western Cape have vowed to protest over a list of grievances including high commissions charged by the app providers.

Drivers from Uber, Bolt, Didi and InDriver have pleaded with the government and the public to help them in a dispute with the apps they drive for.

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SADC regional manager at Bolt, Gareth Taylor, said they were aware of a planned protest by e-hailing drivers in Cape Town today.

Taylor said Bolt respects every driver’s right to protest, and asked drivers to do so legally, peacefully, and without impacting the rights of other drivers who choose to continue to operate and earn an income, and other road users.

Transport and Public Works MEC Daylin Mitchell said threats of a planned protest had been doing the rounds on social media since Monday and rumours that disgruntled e-hailing drivers were planning to block the N2 highway in protest over a long list of grievances.

Mitchell said their grievances included high commissions charged by the app providers, reduced fares that were imposed allegedly without proper consultation, and the general safety of drivers, who were targeted by criminals who extorted money from them and hijacked vehicles, among other serious concerns.

“As an MEC responsible for the regulation of transport in the province, I met with the management of the two biggest e-hailing companies to examine the concerns raised by their partners and drivers and to hear from them how they are planning to address the issues raised,” said Mitchell.

He said he took the decision in the interest of protecting the commuters and motorists who were using their roads.

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He said the representatives of the two companies, Bolt and Uber, informed him and senior officials from his department and the City that they would be communicating with their drivers and partners to hear first-hand what their grievances were and to find workable solutions in the best interest of all parties, including their clients.

Frans Hiemstra, sub-Saharan Africa general manager at Uber, said they take the concerns of drivers seriously and were currently engaging directly using their various engagement channels to work towards addressing the issues.

“Our commitment to drivers is to continuously find ways of maximising their earning potential while meeting the needs of the riders. We will continue engaging them to improve their experience as well as that of riders,” said Hiemstra.

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