16 August 2017

Tanzania: Uber Kills Business, Claim Taxi Drivers

SOME taxi drivers in the city have expressed their frustration following the high picking of Uber commercial transportation services.

They told the 'Daily News' that Uber commercial transport services has posed a threat to their business since many passengers go for Uber instead of ordinary taxi. One of the taxi drivers at Samora Street, Post Office, Mr Omar Mohamed said that the number of people who ride on ordinary taxi has reduced since the introduction of Uber commercial services in the city.

He admitted that Uber charges lower compared to taxi. "We differ on price, our fellow charge lower compared to us, however, there are many reasons behind this matter, we charge higher because we are subjected to tax and many other contributions," he said.

He added that ordinary taxi drivers charge 5000/- for a route from Post Office to Kariakoo while Uber charges only 3000/- for the same route. This attracts more passengers to Uber. "They don't pay income tax, but we the taxi drivers do pay," Mr Mohamed said.

Again, 'Daily News' spot survey reveals, because they mostly use private cars to do their business, the insurance they pay is much lower than what the commercial drivers pay. Another taxi driver at Posta mpya, Mr Joseph Sambara said for equal business platform Uber drivers should also pay tax as it is paid by ordinary taxi drivers.

"Today as we speak, Uber has killed taxi drivers' businesses, we are not comfortable with them at all," he said. When asked why not joining them, some taxi drivers said due to limited income the Uber drivers get one need to operate with a car that has less than 1,400cc engine above that is a loss.

Under Uber agreement, their drivers remit 25 per cent of their fare to the firm and they retain 75 per cent--meaning for every 100/- uber drivers retain 75/-. This 75 per cent Uber driver are retaining was what the ordinary taxi drivers are complaining for--that is not taxable.

When reached for clarification on the system that Uber drivers use to pay tax, the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Director for Taxpayer Services and Education, Mr Richard Kayombo said Uber is a registered company and that it pays tax like any registered company in the country.

He said TRA applies the normal system in collecting tax from Uber. "Uber is paying tax like any other company," he said. Some passengers who use Uber services told the 'Daily News' that Uber services are affordable and fair.

"With Uber you can pay only 25,000/- from Airport to Mwenge, while the ordinary taxi at the same venue charge up to 40,000, which is unfair compared to the current state of the economy," said Ms Anitha Bachu.

Mr Samson Samwel said it is safe to use Uber services because its drivers are traceable. "In case you forget anything in the car, you can trace them and get it back, but with our ordinary taxi, things are different," he said.

He added that Uber drivers are on time and available everywhere hence very convenient urban transport. Uber, is a technology company that connects passengers and drivers. It began operations in Tanzania in March, last year.

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