Uber has announced that it is pleased with the recommendations made in the provisional report of the Competition Commission’s Market Inquiry into Land Based Public Passenger Transport.
On Wednesday, the Commission released the report, which recommended sweeping changes to the National Land Transport Act (NLTA) that would ease regulatory limitations on metered taxi and e-hailing operators.
These include the scrapping of area restrictions and improving self-regulation in the industry.
Uber said the amendments have the potential to improve mobility for South Africans and indicate a positive way forward for public transport in the country.
“It is especially pleasing that these recommendations include the complete proposed removal of area restrictions, which will allow consumers and drivers to move freely around their city without restrictions, increasing economic opportunities,” Uber said.
Response to findings on earnings
The report noted a number of concerns around the potential for earnings among Uber drivers, particularly related to a lack of customers in certain periods.
Uber said that despite South Africa’s economic conditions, the app has helped leverage technology and assets to supplement income.
“In a country where thousands of jobs are being shed, has produced over 13,000 active and sustainable economic opportunities. We believe in the freedom of choice and the Uber app allows drivers the flexibility to decide when and where they use the app, thereby controlling their earning potential.”
The company said its fares are based on its tried and tested pricing model, which takes into account the requirements of the rider and driving community as well as the country’s economics to ensure that riders continue using Uber and drivers have access to fare-paying customers.
It added that it provides drivers with access to rewards that help them reduce their operating costs and maximise earnings, such as fuel rebates, cell phone packages, maintenance, and healthcare.
Safety and other issues
The company further said it was enthusiastic about the report’s endorsement of a specialised division within the SA Police Service which could better address public transport safety, as its own introduction of several new safety features in its app indicates that Uber considers it to be a top priority.
It added that it was ready and willing to work with the relevant transport departments to fix issues around lengthy delays in the issuing of operating licenses, to ensure that its drivers can use the app without limitations.
“We remain committed to working with our driver community, city officials and regulators in creating an economically sustainable sector that creates growth and earning opportunities for the country and its citizens,” Uber stated.
“The findings within the provisional report highlight the continued growth and understanding between e-hailing and the general transport and technology industry.”
The Competition Commission is set to release its final report on 31 March 2020.