Security beefed up after Uber conflict
12 Sep 2017 - by Staff reporter
Hotels in Johannesburg, especially Sandton, are on high alert following the ongoing Uber taxi wars.
Police patrols have also been stepped up after Uber and metered taxi drivers clashed in the CBD last week.
The disagreement started months ago with metered taxi operators complaining they were losing money to the cheaper ride-sharing app service, claiming Uber drivers did not have the necessary permits to operate taxi services.
TAM contacted the Radisson Blu in Sandton, which confirmed it had an outsourced company that handles their guests’ travelling requirements. They tend to stay clear of using Uber or metered taxis.
Mpho Molese from the Southern Sun Hyde Park, said the hotel uses a boom gate and parking access at the rear of the hotel to ensure guests’ safety.
“We are advising guests not to use the front drop-off entrance upon entering the hotel,” said Molese.
He added that the hotel used a private transfer company when transporting guests, as many guests felt it was a safer route to OR Tambo International Airport.
Magdaline Raphela from Zebra Cabs said the unrest had impacted on business as many of their vehicles were branded and that the branded vehicles were being targeted by metered taxis.
“If one of our drivers feels threatened, they switch off their booking app,” said Raphela.
Negative effect on tourism
The Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa, expressed concern about the negative effect the unrest might have on the tourism industry.
“In addition to the needless destruction of property and threat to life, the general mood of uncertainty implicit in the violence threatens the stability of the tourism industry on which thousands of jobs are reliant,” said Xasa.
“For any domestic or international tourist, the sense of security is as important as for the ordinary citizen. However, both the metered taxi cab and Uber operators need to bear in mind the fact that whereas as citizens, our relationship with South Africa is not one of choice, tourists can elect to visit one place and not another and one country instead of another.”
She stressed: “It is self-evident that the operators are cutting off their nose to spite their face."
The Minister called on the two transport operators to meet and find lasting solutions to their disagreements.