Uber global citizen

Credit: Uber

Uber: Jail time and R100 000 fines proposed for law-breaking drivers in WC

Any Uber drivers working without an operating license could soon face severe sanctions for flouting the laws.

Uber global citizen

Credit: Uber

The wildly-popular e-hailing service Uber could soon see some big changes coming its way, including punitive measures for law-breaking motorists.

As reported by The Citizen, a so-called “Uber Bill” is being introduced to the Cape, and is now open for public submissions until 20 August.

How will Uber be regulated in Cape Town?

Monday saw hearings take place for suggested amendments to the National Land Transport Act (NLTA) draft bill. This act was altered to include the likes of Uber and Taxify last year, as the Western Cape government attempts to regulate the service.

One very thorny issue at the heart of these discussions relates to drivers operating without licenses. These particular offenders are a huge security risk and bring the industry into disrepute.

The Western Cape Department of Transport have suggested that a fine of R100 000 should be dished out to any driver who conducts their business without an operating license (OL). There have even been suggestions of jail time for drivers who flout this law, but not everyone is convinced that’s the right solution.

Jail time for law-breaking Uber drivers?

The provincial legislature’s Transport and Public Works Standing Committee Chairperson Nceba Hinana doesn’t believe that a punishment of incarceration would fit the crime:

“Among some of the concerns over the bill were the long waiting periods for operating licences, as the bill proposes harsher punishments, including imprisonment, for drivers without OLs. Some drivers have reported waiting up to two years to receive their OLs and would be left jobless if this amendment were passed.”

Another suggestion for the bill touts the idea of “marking” every Uber vehicle in the municipality, so people can tell which cars are operating for an e-hailing app. However, with tensions still simmering between Uber and metered taxi workers, identifying drivers this way may lead to more trouble.

Written submissions on the bill should reach Shareen Niekerk, committee coordinator, 4th Floor, Provincial Legislature Building, 7 Wale Street, Cape Town, by 12 noon on August 20.