The ongoing fight between metered taxi and Uber drivers flared up again today when metered taxis blocked the R24 freeway heading east between Edenvale and Barbara Road Off ramp in the early hours of the morning.
Metered taxi operators said Uber was not registered to operate and they were tired of making ignored pleas to government to resolve the matter.
Since its launch, the Uber service has proven widely popular with very little pointing to a change in this anytime soon.
Mark Gamanya, 26, a boilermaker living in Pretoria said he’d remain loyal to Uber because they had reasonable prices.
Commuting in central Pretoria, he said he paid Uber between R25-R30 for a trip that’s less than 4km, whereas he’d pay around R80 if using a metered taxi.
Gamanya also said Uber was the better option for him as they’re friendly, safe and reliable.
“Three months ago I lost my phone in one of the meter taxis and when I went back to the guy to ask if he’d seen [my phone] he said he didn’t know.
“With meter taxis you don’t know where to complain. And Uber, when your trip is over, it gives you an option to rate the driver and you know where to get help. They have very good customer service and they’re not rude,” Gamanya says.
Keamogetswe Sefularo, a student at the University of Johannesburg, agreed and said that “with Uber you can hold someone accountable because you know the driver, you see his face on your phone”.
“I feel safer with Uber because I can track the car and my friends can track it also in case my battery dies [during the trip],” Sefularo added.
She recounted a dissatisfactory trip she took in 2014 with a meter taxi where the driver insisted on using his own route.
“I was going from OR Tambo airport to Midrand and the driver wanted to take his own route. My safety felt compromised,” she says.
The trip cost Sefularo R630.
Requesting that same trip on the Uber app today, it’s roughly R228.
Another reason many customers preferred Uber over the metered taxis was the better condition of the cars.
“Their cars are the latest; most of them aren’t older than three years. You feel safe inside their car but with the meter taxi, some are not even roadworthy,” Gamanya says.
“They have unreasonable, old models. Most of them are not clean and the drivers are not presentable,” Sefularo added.
Sefularo, who lives in Braamfontein, said Uber was more convenient for her because she played sports games that end late at night and she could afford the rates.
“You can split the fare between four friends and it becomes cheaper that way and I will keep using it” she said.