Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Taxify have been introduced to South Africa over the last several years. Drivers for these companies have been met with hostility, such as threats and protests, from taxi drivers who claim these ride-sharing businesses have an unfair advantage because they are not held to the same operating requirements and regulations as the taxi drivers and taxi companies resulting in lower fares for customers.
The clashes between TNCs and taxi drivers have escalated to attacks on drivers and their vehicles. Recently, in the Sandton district, one Uber vehicle and two taxis were set on fire, and in the Pretoria suburb of Sunnyside, three Taxify vehicles were burned (Reuters).
While these clashes have mainly targeted Uber drivers, they have the potential of putting the passengers at risk. There have been reports of Uber passengers being physically forced out of the Uber vehicles in attempts of intimidation by the taxi drivers. Uber in South Africa has hired additional security teams to patrol popular drop-off locations.
Uber has launched a petition calling on Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi and Police Minister Fikile Mbalula to take action following the recent spate of attacks against Uber driver-partners. (News24)
For more information:
- Associated Press
- Security message for U.S. Citizens: Transportation Network Companies in South Africa
- If using TNC applications, arrange pick up away from traditional taxi stands.
- Check with a venue or security to see if there is a dedicated area for TNCs prior to requesting a ride.
- Only use apps that provide the vehicle description, license plate number, and the driver’s name, picture, and user rating, and allow you to share your trip information. Share your trip information with friends or family.
- Verify the information provided by the TNC, such as the vehicle make/model, license plate number and driver’s name/picture prior to entering the vehicle.
- Typically, it is encouraged to ride in the backseat of any taxi or rideshare, but the U.S. Department of State is encouraging individuals to ride in the front passenger seat in South Africa as this can ease suspicions that the ride is a TNC ride.
- While in the vehicle, keep the doors locked and windows up at all times.