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Sunday, 16 June 2019

Cairo taxi drivers call for protests to ban Uber, Careem services

Since it launched in the capital of Egypt in 2014, Cairo has been the fastest growing city for the San Francisco-based company Uber

Menna Alaa El-Din , Wednesday 3 Feb 2016
Egypt
File Photo: An Egyptian taxi driver stands on his car as he and others block part of the 6th October bridge in central Cairo, Egypt, Monday, March 25, 2013. (AP)
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Egypt's traditional taxi drivers called on Tuesday for a Thursday protest to demand the government immediately ban taxi applications Uber and Careem.

The planned protest would be the first against the the two increasingly popular companies since they made their debut on Cairo streets two years ago.

The anonymous call for the protest, set to take place at 6pm Cairo time in Mostafa Mahmoud Square, calls for the suspension of the taxi apps as they are "operating as taxis yet were unlicensed as such."

The drivers argue that Uber and Careem are negatively affecting the rights of taxi drivers.

While it is not clear who has called for the protests, Alaa Mohamed, head of the city’s taxi association in Giza, said that his association endorses the calls as “legitimate demands.”

Mohamed says that, as of yet, they will not participate in the protests until they are assured that the protest is legal, by obtaining police permission.

In November, Uber announced an investment of $250 million to expand in the MENA region, where the service has been growing since its arrival.

Cairo has been the fastest growing city for the San Francisco-based company since its launch in the Egyptian capital in November 2014, with the on-demand car service application expanding into Alexandria in November 2015.

Dubai-based Careem has been booming in Egypt, with thousands of their cars providing services in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria. 

"The market in Cairo is really big, taxis don't need to fight with us over customers," said Hadeer Shalaby, Careem's general manager. 

On legalisation, Shalaby says they are licensed as a technology company in Cairo, yet she agrees that the legalisation of their cars and a working model is still needed. 

She says she hopes to reach a solution regarding the legalisation of cars with officials in Cairo, just like they did with Dubai's Road and Traffic Authority (RTA). 

Careem says it has provided thousands of work opportunities every month to unemployed Egyptians, elaborating that their service is not only important for customers, but for their drivers or 'captains,' as they prefer to call them. 

Following the calls, angry customers criticised the taxis' protests, calling on them to improve their services and “stop ripping off Egyptians through taximeters,” arguing that people “would not have resorted to private taxi services like Uber and Careem if the traditional taxis service was actually satisfactory.” 

A hashtag “Taxi In Egypt” was launched on Twitter where users shared their negative experiences with traditional taxi drivers.

This is the first time since the applications’ launch in the Middle East that the private taxi services are facing dissent by traditional taxi drivers.

France has been witnessing a series of protests by taxi drivers, the latest outcry on Tuesday was when they partially blocked roads on the edge of Paris and other areas to protest against what they say is unfair competition from the likes of Uber.

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Miko
06-02-2016 11:16pm
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Uber and Careem...best of the best
I hope and PRAY this doesn't go too far, because my experiences with taxis in Egypt has been dreadful. They charge what they want, just plain greedy and honestly I use drivers each day so I am dependent, so to speak. Uber polite, clean cars, best driving experience and safe may I add. Honestly, it's kinda scary to see this protest because the taxi drivers might have enough gull to out this company :( ...sad day if this happens...
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Pharaoh
04-02-2016 09:01pm
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anti-whiteness and liberty
This is a perfect example where anti-whiteness laws need to be enacted. Laws should enforce the sitting down of uber and the taxi personel to discuss how to work on this issue. A ban on uber will not be of any benefit to the country. However, a liberal discussion would benefit the country between the taxi employees with their parliamentary representatives and uber representatives to exchange ideas and eliminate bigotry.
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Seif El Gammal
04-02-2016 06:05pm
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Seriously?!
Okay, so how many times have you been harassed by a taxi driver? How many times have you been scammed by one? How many times have you experienced the fact that the driver is under the influence of drugs. So the reason why Uber and Careem became frequently used than the other "public" taxi service is because they're dedicated to their job and they do it very well like they're supposed to. So stop whining and actually start showing a good image of yourselves.
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SABINE BLATTER
04-02-2016 04:50pm
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Cairo Taxi Drivers
I feel the below comments about taxi drivers are exaggerated. In my experience most (but not all) taxi drivers are polite and honest. I ride the taxi every day to do the same journey, and there are small differences in fare based on taxi meter. At the opposite, many taxi drivers are nice and caring. Nevertheless the traffic authorities should do a better job to facilitate complaints about foul behavior. In Dubai for example the driver's name, picture, and taxi license number is displayed inside the car. After all there is enough room in Cairo for both types of services: big-brother-Uber and independent taxis. Customers shall be free to choose depending on their life styles and preferences.
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Hani Booz
04-02-2016 04:44pm
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Taxi drivers need to learn from Uber.
As several governments in Egypt failed to control taxi drivers because of their greed and incompetence of the regulator, Uber have challenged the status qua with modern cars and cheep competitive prices.we are the only country in the world where the meter is a joke.
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Vanessa
04-02-2016 12:48pm
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Uber is the best and only option
Forget! Thank goodness there is Uber or I would never step foot in one of cairo's taxis as they are thieves and drive as if you feel its your last ride on earth " death wish"! Uber is the best way to go!
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lilypatel
03-02-2016 11:02pm
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foreigners thought
as foreigners in this country, ive been cheated many times by the taxi driver!! the meter is not working, they charged according to their thoughts.. and some of them even dare to sexually harassed passengers.. this is totally unacceptable!!.. unprofessional treat customers makes us prefer using uber or careem.. they were awesome!!
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medo
03-02-2016 11:01pm
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Uber... WONDERFUL!
Egyptian taxis are a joke... and it is worse because the "meter" they used is played with to run faster... meaning we pay more... and the authorities don't seem to bothered by this theft we face on a daily basis. I have been using Uber for a while, they are very safe, clean cars, we get the picture and car details of the car before it arrives, which makes it much safer than the current taxi service on offer. Amazing service... i wish them all the best.. as for the white taxi drivers... you have been taking our money for years, now it is your turn to have your money taken!
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Expat
03-02-2016 03:14pm
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Makes me giggle
Sorry, as traffic isn't bad enough already... I once stepped in a taxi and regretted it afterwards. Ripoff, no taximeter working, car in very poor condition, no lights, no seat belt, reckless driving and arrogant. Taxi drivers should be ashamed of offering their services in those things they call car...
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Sam
04-02-2016 01:15pm
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Makes me giggle
I did have a good giggle recently in a traditional taxi. The driver had a TV mounted on the dashboard. I asked him if it was not forbidden to watch TV while driving. He said, "No, no, no. This isn't a TV, it's a DVD"!
Mr. Peter
04-02-2016 01:04am
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Furthermore
What concerns me more, is Uber's known practise of charging img extreme prices in peak hour.
Mr. Peter
04-02-2016 01:02am
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My thoughts
I doubt very much the presence of Uber and Careem will get you a seat belt or safer,driving practises, considering the location.
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