Uber drivers in Port Elizabeth withdrew their services for two hours this week in a protest against what they say are poor working conditions.
Nearly 40 Uber partners and drivers demonstrated by parking their vehicles along Allister Miller Drive, before proceeding to the Uber office at the St George’s Park cricket stadium to deliver a list of demands.
Their demands included increased fare rates, a decrease from 25% to 20% in the share price (the money paid to Uber) and access to parking at the Port Elizabeth Airport.
Protest coordinator John du Preez said the drivers were especially unhappy with proposed fares of 15% cheaper for UberGo (Uber hatchback vehicles) as opposed to UberX prices.
“As partners and drivers of Uber in PE we want to say to Uber they cannot launch a service that results in a price decrease for us,” Du Preez said.
“Petrol is going up, we cannot afford for them to drop our prices.” Du Preez said their issues also included access to parking at the Port Elizabeth Airport following an incident in which one of the drivers was allegedly removed by police.
Another driver, Quinton Claassen, said the business had become unprofitable as a result of it becoming popular in the city. “I have been with Uber since it started in Port Elizabeth,” he said.
“That is why I am frustrated, because in the beginning I could make at least R1 000 a day. Now I can’t even make R300 or R400 a day.”
Claassen said with the cost of insurance, a tracker and services, the business had become non-profitable due to the low fares.
Uber spokeswoman Samantha Allenberg said the issues expressed by the group did not reflect the sentiments of all Uber drivers in the city.
“We respect driver-partners as valuable partners with a voice and a choice and we want driver-partners to feel they can talk to us about anything at any time,” she said. ‘