A group of app-based taxi drivers protest in Johannesburg on Monday. Picture: ALON SKUY
A group of app-based taxi drivers protest in Johannesburg on Monday. Picture: ALON SKUY

Uber and Taxify drivers on Monday staged a protest against their fares remaining the same despite the recent increases in the petrol price and value added tax (VAT).

Hundreds of Uber and Taxify drivers assembled on Jan Smuts Avenue near the Johannesburg Zoo‚ before moving to nearby Zoo Lake. They plan to travel together to deliver a memorandum of demands to Uber’s offices.

Uber driver Nkosinathi Nguni said he was "working like a slave". "We are tired of working hard and earning less. Right now the petrol price went up and Uber doesn’t increase trip prices. They don’t even care about the safety of drivers‚ safety is not taken seriously‚" he said.

Sifiso Tshabalala‚ another driver‚ said: "Our complaints don’t matter. The only allegations they take seriously are those of customers and never the driver. Sometimes customers are the ones who victimise us.

"On top of that‚ they take 25% from all transactions. That’s killing us because‚ imagine‚ if the trip is R20‚ what will you have remaining?" Tshabalala said.

One of their biggest challenges was the upfront payment system‚ he said.

"The upfront payment disadvantages us because the rider can decide to use a different route. Sometimes you can drive more kilometres and [do] not get paid for [them] because the upfront [payment] is set on a certain route‚" Tshabalala said.

Drivers said they were prepared to strike if Uber did not act on their demands.

Earlier on Monday‚ the Taxify and Uber drivers were accused of pulling over fellow drivers‚ forcing them to stop and join the protest. The drivers denied they had done so.

With Alon Skuy

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