Cape Town clamps down on Uber: report

Over 30 Uber vehicles have been impounded in Cape Town for not having the proper permits to operate, according to a Bloomberg report.

Quoting City of Cape Town spokesperson Jean-Pierre Smith, the city had reportedly been receiving complaints about the Uber service.

“They’re public transport vehicles and they are required to have public transport operating permits,” Smith told Bloomberg.

Police seized at least 33 Uber-affiliated cars for not having valid permits on 3 January.

In Cape Town, Uber vehicles operate as metred taxis, though the service does not technically follow that line.

Uber drivers are independent operators who own their own vehicles or are part of an independent fleet which is in partnership with the Uber service.

According to a report by Fin24, Uber general manager for Johannesburg, Alon Lits, said the company has been in talks with the City of Cape Town for months regarding the permit issue.

“There’s a lot of ambiguity around what the right type of category of operating licence should be for Uber partners (in Cape Town),” Lits said.

“Regulation is really lagging innovation in this case.”

In Johannesburg, drivers fall under the chartered-services operating license, which has far less onerous requirements.

Drivers of the impounded cars reportedly face fines of R1,500 as well as a R7,500 vehicle release fee.

Global problem

The troubles for Uber in South Africa are the latest in a string of issues faced by the company across the world for similar discrepancies.

In places like Canada and Australia, the company faced pressure from authorities for not complying to its transport laws, while the service was outright banned in a number of cities.

These include major cities in Belgium and Germany, as well as in France, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, South Korea, and several cities in the USA.

The company has also faced massive backlash and protest from many localised taxi companies, which claim that the service, operating without permits, is effectively stealing business.

In December the group raised an additional $1.2 billion in funding, giving it a valuation of approximately $40 billion.

The service operates in over 250 cities in 50 countries.

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Cape Town clamps down on Uber: report