Uber cites 13,000 jobs created in tough economy, supports special police unit

Uber supports a recommendation that police should consider forming a specialist unit to deal with violence within the country's transport industry. File image
Uber supports a recommendation that police should consider forming a specialist unit to deal with violence within the country's transport industry. File image
Image: REUTERS/ROBERT GALBRAITH

E-hailing service Uber on Friday backed the Competition Commission's recommendation that police should consider forming a specialist unit to deal with violence within SA's transport industry.

Uber said it was "enthusiastic about the endorsement of a specialised division within SAPS which should better address public transport safety-related matters."

The commission's provisional report released on Wednesday, after its inquiry into the public passenger transport market and e-hailing and metered taxi services, also expressed concern about no-go zones for e-hailing services, especially around Gautrain stations.

In response Uber said: "It is especially pleasing that these recommendations include the complete proposed removal of area restrictions, which will allow consumers and drivers to move freely around their city without restrictions, increasing economic opportunities."

Responding to the commission's finding that nearly four out of every five e-hailing operators are working without valid licences, Uber said it is committed to working with the relevant departments to resolve "the numerous issues and extremely lengthy delays on the issuing of operating licences."

"We are doing as much as we can to make this process easier for drivers," it said.

Drivers of e-hailing services this week staged a protest in Johannesburg, the latest in a long-running dispute about their remuneration rates.

Without referring to this directly, Uber highlighted its commitment to negotiate with its drivers and its contribution to the employment market locally, which "continues to descend with economic conditions in the country under pressure."

"In a country where thousands of jobs are being shed, Uber has produced more than 13,000 active and sustainable economic opportunities," the company said.

"We ensure our fares are based on our tried and tested pricing model which consider the needs of the rider and driver community as well as the economics in South Africa," said Uber, in addition to deals that help reduce driver costs, such as fuel rebates, cellphone packages, maintenance and health care.

"We remain committed to working with our driver community, city officials and regulators in creating an economically sustainable sector that creates growth and earning opportunities for the country and its citizens."

The final Competition Commission report is due on March 31.


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