Taxi unions in the country have given government a 4-day ultimatum to force Uber services to comply with all operational terms in running taxi-cab services in the country.
The taxi drivers have hinted of plans to boycott payment of income tax, and all other taxes, cost that comes with commercial operation of such transport.
A leading member of the True Drivers Union, Yaw Barimah told Fiifi Banson on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa 102.5 FM that Uber Services has contributed to traditional taxis facing unfair competition.
“It is unfair to run the same business with them, while they are treated with kid gloves. Government has overlooked them conforming to standards required for established taxi operators. They are not paying Income tax, they don’t have the traditional colours of taxis, while the AMA commercial license too they don’t have it.”
He fears the current situation won’t promote equity within the system since the seeming preferential treatment will rather slow up their business and benefit the Uber Services and other commercial transport operators.
“If they don’t force them[Uber] to comply with the established laws, we’ll be compelled to go to court and free our members anytime they’re arrested over payment of income tax and AMA licenses.
Another Taxi-cab driver, Awotwi Pratt bemoaned the unfair competition will not inure to their benefit, and will force them out of business, if government fails to promote equity in the system.
“They don’t pay anything apart from the Road worthy and the Insurance cost. Critically they are taking over the market and we’ll be left with nothing in the business. We don’t have any problem with them working as business entity in the country, but it is a competitive environment so they should not be cushioned to their advantage while we suffer, “he said.
But a driver with Uber, who only gave his name as Dickson said “we deliver just that, safely, reliable and affordable transport service.
“Comparatively our services are economical and convenient. There was a day I picked somebody from Alisa Hotel to a place near JJ Rawlings’ residence. Initially the person wanted the normal taxis, but he realised the fare he was being charged was too exorbitant. I happened to be around and I advised him to hook onto the app and request for Uber services. After completing the processes, I picked him just for a fare of GHS 5, while the normal taxi was charging him GHS 12. So customers have noticed the convenience with Uber and they patronize it offlate.”
American multinational online transportation network, Uber has hit the Ghanaian market. Ghana joins about 7 other African countries including South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Kenya which currently have the service.
Through an easy-to-use platform, it connects drivers with riders in real time, at the touch of a button. With over four million people using the streets in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA), there is a clear demand for Uber’s services.
Uber launched its operations in Ghana last year and the base fare for the Uber service has been pegged at GHS 1.70 plus GHS 1.30 per kilometer and GHS 19 pesewas per minute. The minimum fare for the service is GHS 5 and it will cost you GHS 5 if you cancel a booking.