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Clashes Between South Africa's Taxi Drivers And Uber Delay Travelers, Jam Traffic

  • VOA Staff

Taxi drivers in South African clashed with drivers of the ride-hailing app Uber, Friday, blocking roads to Africa's busiest O.R. Tambo International Airport, in Johannesburg on Friday.

Thousands of travelers were delayed as the protesters blocked the main highway to the airport, causing long traffic jams.

Uber Technologies Inc's service has triggered protests by taxi drivers from London to Hungary and New Delhi as it upends traditional business models that require professional drivers to pay steep licensing fees to drive cabs.

"We are experiencing the illegality of Uber that is operating in the meter taxi (sector)," said an unidentified member of South Africa's Meter Taxi Association.

"We are regulated by the Department of Transport board. So if they give us a price, we adhere to that price. So Uber cannot come and survey our price and (then) go lower," he added.

Meanwhile, Uber drivers also protested outside the Uber headquarters in Johannesburg, as they accused the company of not doing enough to protect them against meter taxi drivers and other crimes.

"Drivers are being beaten on a daily basis, cars are being smashed. We are being hijacked because some the hijacks are linked with this cash trip that Uber has introduced (in May 2016). And we are not seeing any protection, we are not seeing anything being done," said Uber driver Zweli Ngwenya.

Uber has attracted more than 500,000 users and 4,000 drivers across South Africa since its 2013 launch.

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