E-Hailing drivers have vowed to continue to protest outside the Bolt offices in Bryanston, north of Johannesburg. On Monday police fired rubber bullets to disperse the protesting drivers.
E-hailing drivers in Gauteng, Western Cape, and Free State have suspended their services. They are once again trying to draw attention to the need to regulate the industry, saying the companies do not take them seriously.
The drivers have also raised safety concerns.
e-hailing app companies
E-hailing is a pay-as-you-go transportation model that enables everyday people to move safely and conveniently. The operators use their personal vehicles, mostly financed by banks, and are booked through the app companies.
However, it is up to the e-hailing app companies to set the prices for the trips. Mbelengwa says the app companies drop prices without consulting them as the industry is not regulated.
“The relationship that we have with app hailing companies such as Uber and bolt is currently not governed. There are a lot of loopholes which in essence are now leaving us as operators within the space subject to a lot of exploitation. They refer to us as partners but there isn’t a single decision-making platform reflective of a partnership. So it can’t be correct to refer to us as partners but you independently decide what price our skills and labour are sold at.”
Mbelengwa says pricing is a major problem as they are running their businesses at a loss.
“Bolt then continues to drop prices and run promotions which are ultimately subsidized by us. And we actually don’t have the money for that. Recently they moved to launch a platform called bolt go. Which then drops the prices which we are currently offering our services. Which then results in us not being able to service our responsibilities. We can’t pay installments, we can’t meet our obligations at home. Vehicle repossession in our space is on a constant increase.”
Safety is paramount and Mbelengwa says both drivers and passengers fall victim to crime as one of the companies has no proper vetting system.
“Both drivers and riders are experiencing a vast amount of criminal activity. We as drivers don’t know who is getting in our vehicles because no proper vetting process has been done. With the amount of investment, we have in this industry. It can’t be ok for them to continue to allow for a dangerous system to continue persisting when there is a way to make this platform safer.”
They have vowed to suspend services until their concerns are heard.
#Ehailing protest outside Bolt offices #sabcnews pic.twitter.com/eubvcEywcT
— Pearl Magubane (@Pearl_Magubane) October 12, 2020
E-hailing taxi operators strike over exploitation:
Source: SABC News (sabcnews.com)