A protest by Uber and Taxify drivers in the Cape Town city centre caused disruptions to traffic on Tuesday, EWN has reported.
Cursing, hooting, general chaos and several scuffles were also reported after officials tried to move protesters along due to a backlog of traffic on Somerset Road in the wake of the protest.
Protesters and drivers alleged that the officers were racist in their handling of the protests. For their part, the police say the protest was not legal.
The drivers accuse the two companies of exploiting their workers.
Some drivers posted placards on their car windows with messages including “Enough is enough” and “Uber/Taxify must be regulated”.
“The condition is time-based tariffs … any type or form of charging is strictly prohibited in terms of this permit, but Uber refused to increase their prices for the past five years,” said a driver.
READ MORE: Taxify adjusts prices to give drivers a lift
Another driver added: “First you can see the price is very down, and everything now is very high. Even to pay rent is very difficult.”
The protest is also aimed at traffic officials, who the drivers accuse of victimising them.
“They impound our cars, then they want R10 000 for the cars to be returned to us because of the permit, but the government doesn’t want to give us the permit.”
The South African has reported that Taxify has reacted to the allegations. In an official statement, the company said: “Having engaged with Taxify driver-partners in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, and wanting to address their valid concerns, Taxify has responded by adjusting the rates it charges riders. These nominal rate changes have been implemented in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban already.”
Earlier in the month, The Citizen reported that Taxify announced it would be changing some of its tariffs to help its drivers earn better wages in the wake of this month’s fuel price hike.
“Trips will now be calculated at R0.75 per minute, and the cost a kilometre is now R7.50. The base fare of R5 remains unchanged, as does the minimum fare of R20,” Taxify said in a statement.
“This small change to rider costs will have a major impact for the Taxify drivers, who will now on average earn 20% more than drivers using competitor platforms,” Taxify said. “Taxify drivers nett 85% of the fare paid by riders – a significantly higher percentage than drivers that use other platforms to connect with riders.”
Uber has been approached for comment, and we will update this article if it is received.