Picture: SOWETAN
Picture: SOWETAN

With violence and threats brewing between metered taxis and ride-hailing services, such as Uber‚ a new taxi-hailing app has arrived that believes it is possible for the apparent rival business platforms to work together.

The new app‚ Scoop A Cab‚ which is about to hit South African cities when it goes live text week‚ is taking a different route to that of its competitors by including metered taxis in its online fold. This comes amid ongoing conflict between Uber drivers and metered taxi drivers‚ mainly in Gauteng.

The feud — which has turned violent with some drivers being attacked — prompted a petition to counter attacks against Uber and Taxify drivers last month.

In June‚ Uber confirmed a brutal attack on a driver in Pretoria‚ who suffered severe injuries after his car was set alight while he was in it. Another Uber driver became a victim of arson after he was attacked and his car burned to ashes.

Scoop A Cab‚ which will operate in Bloemfontein‚ East London‚ Pietermaritzburg‚ Johannesburg and Pretoria‚ is hoping its decision to include traditional metered taxi drivers on the app will make them feel more included and allow them "to get with the times".

"With all the violence and attacks that have been happening in Gauteng and people losing their lives‚ Scoop A Cab made it a responsibility to find a solution that will bring peace and eliminate the metered taxi drivers’ understandable frustrations. Scoop A Cab was designed to suit private car owners (sedans and hatchbacks) and also traditional metered taxis" said Tendayi Mawoko‚ Scoop A Cab’s co-founder‚ developer and operations manager. "Eventually‚ the world will become too advanced ... the old way of doing things will not exist anymore. Scoop a Cab is ensuring that traditional metered taxi owners are not left out in the cold and basically get with the times."

He said that while metered taxi driver’s frustrations were "very understandable"‚ their acts of violence were not the "right choice".

"The inception of Scoop A Cab was really designed for traditional metered taxis. We did secure meetings and started conversations about working together with a number of metered taxi companies. It was important for us to show them the benefit of this‚ both in the short and long run‚" Mawoko said.

Scoop A Cab rates will be the same as Uber and Taxify‚ "depending on the vehicle type; for example‚ for private cars‚ the price is the same, for hatchbacks‚ the rate is low, for metered cabs it’s a bit more".

The app took a team of engineers and designers about 18 months to develop and can be download from the Apple and Android app stores.

As for Uber’s reaction to the new app — "Uber loves competition as it offers more choice to customers‚ improves safety and service‚ and encourages innovation. We love choice‚" said Samantha Allenberg‚ Uber’s spokesperson.

"Our technology is open and non-exclusive and we are keen to offer it to a broad number of taxi drivers to boost their chances for profit. In fact, many metered taxi drivers are already using our technology to boost their incomes and we would welcome more who wish to join their colleagues."

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