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Thursday, 22 March 2018

Cabinet refers Ride-Hailing Apps Act to Parliament for sign-off

LEGISLATION WATCH- Ismail Cabinet acting fast to legalize Uber, Careem: The Ismail Cabinet referred the Ride-Hailing Apps Act to the House of Representatives for review and approval yesterday after having received the final draft from Maglis El Dawla, Al Shorouk reports. This comes one day after the Administrative Court issued a ruling suspending the licenses of ride-hailing apps Uber and Careem. The ruling also banned the two apps and suspended their use of private cars. Taxi drivers had filed a lawsuit last year to shut down the platforms’ operations based on the claim that they were illegally using private cars as taxis and were not legally registered as transportation companies.

White cabs would be included in Uber, Careem fleets: As we noted previously, the draft law reportedly includes provisions that would require these companies to ensure that half of their fleet be made up of white taxis within six months of the law’s issuance. The law would also impose a licensing pricing scheme that favors taxi drivers. All of that is good news for bellowing taxi drivers, less so for those of us who want smoke-free, A/C-included rides from people who aren’t polluting the interior of the car with non-stop babble.

The government is waiting for an official order from the Administrative Court before suspending the licenses of the ride-hailing apps, said Cabinet spokesperson Ashraf Sultan, according to Al Masry Al Youm. If the ruling becomes final, presumably after the appeals process, the government will act immediately to enforce it, he added.

Gov’t mea culpa? Sultan appears to take responsibility for the confusion, saying the government had not issued regulations for ride-hailing apps, something it is keen to rectify now.

The foreign press is continuing to frame the story as part of the global conflict between Uber and local taxi drivers. Bloomberg’s Tarek El-Tablawy and Tamim Elyan tell it as it is, pointing out that taxi drivers are the authors of their own misfortunes, with their not-so-customer friendly approach and refusal to run on meters.

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