E-hailing taxi services face a bumpy road ahead

In a report published in February, the Competition Commission called for changes in regulations governing all metered taxis, to level the playing field. The commission raised concern that the licensing regime for metered taxis meant that they were restricted to particular areas, while the e-hailing services operate anywhere. The commission highlighted, for example, that taxi operators may be limited to one municipality, while e-hailing drivers in Gauteng can operate between the Tshwane, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni regions.

The commission wanted all area restrictions to be lifted so that once a taxi service is registered it can operate anywhere in the country. The commission launched an inquiry in 2017 amid industry concerns about the impact of Uber. The commission also found that nearly four out of five e-hailing operators were working without valid licences.

The commission’s report stated that the entry of e-hailing services in SA generated conflict between metered taxi and e-hailing operators.

“At the heart of conflict is metered taxis’ view that e-hailing operators have bypassed regulatory scrutiny (as there was no specific regulation governing their business model) and charged low fares,” the report stated.

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