Cape Town looks at regulating Uber and food delivery services as traffic grows

The City of Cape Town will look at new regulations for e-hailing services and food delivery scooters as traffic congestion and limited parking space continues to impact the city.

Speaking to the Cape Argus, ward councillor Dave Bryant said that the motion was put forward in response to queries from residents and local businesses in the area regarding challenges they are facing with some of the online delivery vehicles operating in the area.

“One of the key challenges we are faced with is parking and stacking, in particular the scooters, and in some of these areas this causes congestion,” he said.

The motion states that the aim of the amendments should be to “regulate the environment in the public interest and simultaneously to improve the relationship between the city and increase economic opportunities”.

Bryant said the intention of this motion was to work with the existing operators to amend and improve the existing policies to ‘create a conducive working environment’.

The motion aligns with other proposed amendments surrounding e-haling services in the city.

In September, Cape Town said that its new bylaws will include a section that speaks specifically to the e-hailing sector.

Notably, it will require drivers of e-hailing vehicles operating within the city’s jurisdiction to clearly display a tag identifying the vehicle as such, along with a valid operating license.

Other changes 

Regulations around e-hailing services are not the only proposed changes in Cape Town’s amended traffic by-law which was published for public comment at the end of September.

First introduced in 2011, the by-law regulates public transport vehicles and traffic within the city’s jurisdiction.

One of the key aspects of the original by-law was the impoundment of cellphones of motorists caught using the devices while driving.

Chairperson of the City’s Safety and Security Portfolio Committee, Mzwakhe Nqavashe, said the city will now actively use this section of the by-law to punish motorists.

Instead of being either auctioned or destroyed, the by-law now makes provision for the phones to be donated to neighbourhood watches, NGOs or non-profit organisations.

However this process is not automatic, and motorists have a number of opportunities to get their phone back should it be confiscated.

“National legislation makes it illegal to use a cellphone while operating a motor vehicle, which means that a motorist will be fined if caught,” Nqavashe said.

“In Cape Town, the traffic by-law stays true to legislation in this regard, but also makes allowance for the impoundment of cellphones by authorised officials.

“This was the big talking point when the by-law was first introduced, but it was and remains part of the City’s efforts to reduce distracted driving and improve road safety.”

In addition to the new sections around phones, the by-law has now been amended to include five new chapters dealing with a number of new infringements.

Notably, in terms of the draft document, authorised officials may, in the interest and the safety of the public, without prior written notice, impound vehicles where:

  • Vehicle was involved in reckless or negligent driving or illegal street racing;
  • The vehicle is unlicensed or the licence disc has been expired for more than 90 days;
  • The vehicle is unregistered;
  • The vehicle is not fitted with licence plates;
  • The vehicle is damaged or is in a state of disrepair and is, in the opinion of the authorised official, not roadworthy;
  • The vehicle is a taxi which is being operated in contravention of the conditions of approval its operating licence or off the approved route;
  • The vehicle has been left abandoned;
  • The driver of the vehicle is unlicensed, or the driver does not have his or her driver’s licence available for inspection;
  • The driver of the vehicle is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a drug having a narcotic effect; or
  • The driver did not stop when signalled to do so by an authorised official resulting in the driver having to be pursued and forced to stop.

Read: 3 planned traffic changes that every South African needs to know about

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Cape Town looks at regulating Uber and food delivery services as traffic grows