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By Ilse de Lange


Car dealer gets court order telling Uber drivers to steer clear

The ride-hailing service's drivers were using his premises to pick up Gautrain passengers, with mayhem ensuing.

A car dealer over the road from the Gautrain station in the Pretoria CBD has obtained a final interdict to stop Uber drivers from picking up passengers at its premises after metered taxi drivers threatened to burn the business to the ground.

The High Court in Pretoria earlier this month granted a final interdict forcing Uber to issue warnings to Uber drivers operating near the Pretoria Gautrain station not to pick up passengers at the Renault and Kia Fountains dealership.

Uber was also ordered to ensure compliance with the court order by deactivating the accounts of drivers who ignored the warning.

Dealer principal Martin Smit said in court papers the daily violent confrontations between metered taxi drivers and Uber drivers has had such an impact on his business that they might be forced to move out of the CBD.

Uber drivers started using the dealership as a pick-up point in 2017 after numerous incidents at the Gautrain station in which metered taxi drivers converged on Uber drivers and passengers, pulling them out of cars and assaulting them.

He cited several incidents in which the dealership’s employees had to intervene when Uber drivers and passengers were threatened. This led to the metered taxi drivers threatening to burn down the dealership.

There was an attempt to set an Uber vehicle alight, several incidents when Uber drivers ran into the dealership for protection and on one occasion an Uber driver trying to get away from his assailants lost control of his vehicle and rammed into five vehicles parked on the premises, causing extensive damage.

An Uber driver also nearly ran over one of the dealership’s security guards and a customer when he started reversing to escape from a metered taxi driver.

When Smit complained to Uber’s security manager, his reaction was that Uber could not stop drivers from picking up passengers at the dealership, although he undertook to tell them to pick up customers at the pick-up point across the road.

A sign at the entrance warning that Uber and taxis were not allowed to pick up passengers at the dealership was simply ignored and incidents of violence and intimidation remained a daily occurrence, he added.

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