Taxi rivalry turns nasty at the Sandton Gautrain Station

An Uber taxi has its rear window smashed.

 

Another scuffle between metered taxi drivers and Uber drivers broke out on 30 March at the Sandton Gautrain Station. Numerous Uber vehicles were damaged.

Teresa Munchick, spokesperson for Uber Movement said that violence aimed towards Uber drivers has increased in recent days. “Three cars were stoned on Rivonia Road opposite JB’s restaurant in full view of the police who later escorted metered taxis away. There were rumours that metered taxi drivers had been intimidating Uber drivers the previous day and turning them away,” said Munchick.

Uber drivers being pulled over and intimidated by metered taxi drivers on 30 March. It is reported that some metered taxi drivers were carrying sticks and other weapons.

Read WATCH: Uber drivers block 7th and 3rd Avenue in Parktown North, meter taxi drivers block OR Tambo airport routes

Eyewitness, Alex Hope-Bailie saw acts of intimidation taking place the day before violence broke out at the Gautrain station. “I saw two taxi association guys and two unmarked security guards harassing an Uber driver in the lane next to me as we were driving out of the underground parking at the Gautrain station in Sandton. The Uber driver eventually sped away after five minutes of exceedingly aggressive interrogation. Metered taxi drivers were hiding behind a pillar waiting for him to drive out from the inside drop-off zone,” said Bailie.

An Uber taxi has its rear window smashed.

Bailie continued to explain that this was not the first time that she had witnessed aggressive behaviour by metered taxi drivers. “I’ve also had metered taxi drivers pull me out of my Uber taxi outside the Sandton Gautrain Station. I managed to struggle out of the grip and close and lock the door. The driver had to drop me three blocks away so I had to walk with all my luggage,” she concluded.

Read Uber nuisance

Uber spokesperson, Samantha Allenberg responded to the violence that took place on 30 March. “Our technology is open and pro-choice and we are keen to offer it to a broad number of taxi drivers to boost their chances for profit. In fact, many metered taxi drivers are already using our technology to boost their incomes and we would welcome more who wish to join their colleagues. We do not feel that it should be about Uber or taxi but rather Uber and taxi,” she said.

“The threats and intimidation against those who want to use Uber to boost their income are unacceptable. Violence only underlines why people are increasingly choosing safe, reliable alternatives like Uber. Safety, reliability, innovation and choice are why the people of Johannesburg are choosing Uber’s world-class digital technology.” she concluded.

Uber drivers were violently attacked on 30 March by metered taxi drivers in Sandton and surrounding areas.

As the violence sent road users into a panic, this was not an isolated incident. Our sister publication, Rosebank Killarney Gazette met with a few Uber drivers who have been victims of brutal hijackings. Visit www.rosebankkillarneygazette.co.za to read more on these Uber drivers’ harrowing experiences.

Sandton police failed to give comment on the incident.

Edited by Beryl Knipe

What do you think can be done to stop Uber drivers from being targeted? Let us know on the Sandton Chronicle Facebook page.

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