The introduction of Uber taxi services in Ghana is driving local cab drivers out of business, Francis Appiah, Public Relations Officer of the Committed Drivers Association of Ghana, has said.
Uber, a technology company that connects passengers and drivers, began operations in Ghana last year. However, local drivers have expressed worry about their drop in sales since the emergence of the service in the country.
Mr Appiah, in an interview with Chief Jerry Forson, host of Ghana Yensom, on Accra100.5FM on Friday April 21, mentioned that insurance premiums being paid by the company is much lower than that demanded of local drivers because of the use of private cars for Uber services. This, he said, allowed Uber taxis to charge relatively lower fares, thereby having an edge over conventional taxis.
He further stated that the use of private cars for commercial purposes by Uber was a clear violation of Ghana’s road safety regulations, however, authorities have turned a blind eye to the practice.
He said: “The Uber service is killing the work of taxi drivers in Ghana. Because they know as foreigners they would not be able to engage in this kind of work in Ghana, some Ghanaians fronted for them to enable them gain access to the local market.
“They don’t pay income tax, they don’t pay for embossments, but we the taxi drivers do pay. Taxi drivers also possess AMA embossment licences and stickers, but they [Uber taxis] don’t have them. Again, because they mostly use private cars to do their business, the insurance they pay is much lower than what the commercial drivers pay.
“Even the use of private cars is against the road traffic regulations, but everybody is watching as they violate the law. Today as we speak, when you go to Tanzania, Uber has killed taxi drivers’ businesses and even in the United States where they come from, they are gradually killing the taxi business.
“China saw the dangers they posed to their local drivers and so they prevented them from entering their market. And so why should we allow them to also kill our businesses here in Ghana?”