South Africa

City of Cape Town in talks with Uber over extra licences

Cape Town - The City’s Transport Directorate had discussions with e-hailing service Uber around operating licences and impoundments.

The City said the initial discussion involved enquiries from Uber regarding the issuing of additional operating licences as well as the City's request for information regarding operations, staging and food delivery operations.

Mayco member for Transport Felicity Purchase said: “Uber has requested that the City supports the issuing of additional operating licences and raised their concern regarding the impound fees that they have to pay as a result of enforcement against vehicles that operate without licence.”

Purchase said the number of operators registered outnumbered the number of licences currently approved.

“The City has requested data from Uber to undertake a supply-and- demand assessment before considering the issuing of additional licences. It is an operating licence condition that e-hailing services operate on a continually roaming basis and that no staging (waiting/parking) is permitted within the road network.”

The current policy the City has in place, which is the draft revised Parking Policy, is currently available for public comment. This policy makes allowances for increased well-located motorcycle parking spaces in business areas which could be utilised by Uber and other food delivery services.

“The policy also allows for better enforcement of on-street parking. Furthermore, the Transport Directorate is finalising an update to its Operating Licence Strategic Framework which sets the procedure and guidelines for the assessment of operating licence applications for public transport vehicles including e-hailing type services, as well as the conditions under which they are allowed to operate,” said Purchase.

The City’s Transport Enforcement Unit provided the following impoundment and fine statistics in terms of e-hailing operators. Between July 2019 to June 2020 there have been 1 881 impounds and from July 2020 to September 2020 there have been 321 impounds.

Uber said in its response: “The Operating permit issuance system in South Africa is effectively broken. We are doing as much as we can to make this process easier for driver-partners and will continue to support and stand by our drivers until we have a solution from the City. We remain committed to doing all we can to hasten the allocation of operating licenses, and we are confident that with the active support of the City, the backlog can be easily cleared.”

Cape Argus

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