JOHANNESBURG- E-hailing operator Taxify said that it was working with law enforcement agencies to identify perpetrators behind the violence that has claimed the lives of their several drivers within the industry recently.
Taxify’s Country Manager, Gareth Taylor, made the remarks on Tuesday at the legislature during a discussion looking at problems e-hailing operators including Uber, Taxify, and metered operators were faced with in Gauteng.
A surge in the number of attacks between metered and e-hailing drivers has been noted, with at least 294 attacks being recorded since January. A total of 166 cases were being investigated and 28 arrests have been made.
“The current statistics are tragic. We continue to work with the police to identify perpetrators as violence affects all drivers. We support the call for a dedicated law enforcement unit to protect drivers and customers. Solutions must be found on the problem of criminals posing as riders and then attacks drivers on our platform. Every life is sacrosanct. We are devastated with the lives we have lost. The safety of drivers in our platforms is our priority,” Taylor said.
It emerged that there was an oversupply of metered and e-hailing vehicles in the province.
Some MPLs said that the issue of operators working without the required documentation was complicated matters further.
Roads and Transport department Head of Department, Ronald Swarts conceded that violence continued unabated “ There are too many killings. We have not been successful in resolving the violence. There are people who operate without licences. We must admit that we were unprepared for the introduction of e-hailing services. The industry is over saturated,” said Swarts.
Representing metered drivers, Reuben Mzayiya said that they were unable to compete with the fares that e-hailing operators were charging.
“There’s no profit for us. While we are required to park in holding areas, e-hailing drivers even park under trees. We are being regulated and they don’t have to abide by those regulations. 70% of their drivers are foreigners from Zimbabwe,” Mzayiya said.
Mzayiya’s colleagues who were part of the discussion also said that they were unable to make a profit as the market was “flooded.”
Talyor said that the Competition Commission was currently probing pricing within the industry.
“I can confirm that there’s an investigation underway into pricing and to what extent that pricing can be and is competitive and profitable. We support a level playing field among all operators,” Taylor said.