Wednesday,20 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1392, (3 - 9 May 2018)
Wednesday,20 February, 2019
Issue 1392, (3 - 9 May 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Stopped at the yellow light

An appeal on the fate of Careem and Uber has been postponed, reports Reem Leila


Stopped at the yellow light
Stopped at the yellow light

The Supreme Administrative Court has postponed to 5 May a hearing on the appeal by ride hailing companies Uber and Careem against a verdict suspending their activities.

Last year, the Taxi Drivers Union called for the suspension of the two companies’ activities in Egypt, saying they function illegally on the basis that they use private cars as taxis without having the required licences, and are not subject to the same taxes paid by taxi drivers. The two companies, according to the union, do not have the legal right to operate fleets of taxis since Uber is registered as a call centre company while Careem is an Internet company.

In March, the Administrative Court suspended the licences of the two companies, banned their apps and suspended their use of private cars. Uber and Careem appealed the ruling at the Supreme Administrative Court.

Meanwhile, parliament is drafting a law legalising the status of ride hailing platforms in the country. The draft consists of 20 articles aimed at establishing a legal framework according to which these companies could operate using the Internet.

It also allows drivers of white taxis to establish entities similar to Uber and Careem. 

According to the law, licensed companies shall be given a period of time to legalise their positions in accordance with the new law. The law stipulates that fines are to be imposed on service providers if they did not obtain a licence from the authorised ministry.

Although parliamentary committees of transport, communications and economic affairs have said they approved the draft law regulating the mass transit of passengers by using information technology, senior officials in Uber and Careem have reservations concerning some of the articles, especially articles 9 and 10 which refer to sharing data held by Uber and Careem users with the authorities as well as imposing extra expenses on drivers.

“The company demanded these controversial issues be changed. I expect discussions would lead to a positive result,” said Rami Kato, executive director of Careem.

Kato told Al-Ahram Weekly his company believes that the cost of operating fees, work permits and taxes imposed on drivers and companies in the new draft law is very high, and if approved, would lead to an increase in service rates.

The company also demands that licences not be limited to only passenger cars but include all kinds of vehicles as Careem plans to expand to other forms of transport, Kato said.

Careem provides more than 200,000 rides daily and has nearly 100,000 captains (drivers) in the governorates which have the service.

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