Taxi wars in Ballito ‘blockade’ Uber – for now

Uber. Photo: Alistair Russel

Uber. Photo: Alistair Russel

There have been reports throughout the year of taxi operators harassing and intimidating Uber passengers and drivers in Gauteng.

Uber cabs have been temporarily discontinued in Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal, following reports of Uber drivers being intimidated by rival taxi associations.

This comes as tensions continue to grow between Uber drivers and members of the Dolphin Coast Taxi Association (DCTA) in the area during this year’s Rage Festival.

Following allegations of Uber drivers being pulled over, pursued through the streets and threatened by DCTA taxis, Rage Festival organisers and DCTA members have since met in an attempt to settle the disputes, North Coast Courier reported.

It was decided at this meeting to remove Uber as a partner of the festival in order to keep the peace, with all Uber cars directed not to transport passengers on the Rage routes allocated to the DCTA.

Since these agreements, however, more Uber drivers have allegedly been targeted, with reports of one driver being threatened at gunpoint by taxi security.

One Uber driver, who asked to remain anonymous, said the reason clients have had difficulty booking Uber cabs was because Uber had requested their drivers to shut down the Ballito routes for their own safety.

Uber spokesperson Samantha Allenberg said the international private cab company was working with all relevant stakeholders in Durban and KZN to resolve the issue as a matter of urgency.

“The intimidation and threats of violence from the primary transport providers of the Rage Festival only underlines why people are increasingly choosing safe, reliable alternatives like Uber,” said Allenberg.

She said the threats and intimidation of those choosing to use the Uber platform were unacceptable.

“We call on the Rage organisers to bring their suppliers to task or secure police intervention to help ensure everyone can enjoy a safe, affordable, hassle-free time travelling, however they choose to get around Durban.”

Allenberg said Uber would notify the public when the “blockade” on Ballito’s Uber services had been lifted.

There have been reports throughout the year of taxi operators harassing and intimidating Uber passengers and drivers in Johannesburg and parts of Pretoria.

In July, metered taxi drivers gathered in Parktown, Johannesburg, to protest against the online taxi service amid reports of metered taxi drivers harassing Uber passengers.

Metered taxi drivers protesting against Uber. Pic: Rosebank Killarney Gazette

Metered taxi drivers protesting against Uber. Pic: Rosebank Killarney Gazette

In a statement, the general manager of Uber Johannesburg, Alon Litz, said the intimidation was getting progressively worse.

“We are in constant communication with the drivers assuring them that their safety is our No 1 priority. We’re looking into ways to reduce cases of intimidation,” Litz said.

– Caxton News Service

 

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