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Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Egyptian taxi drivers start open-ended sit-in to demand Uber, Careem shutdown

The strike by taxi drivers in Giza’s Mostafa Mahmoud Square blocked a major thoroughfare in the city, leading to a complete closure of roads in the area

Menna Alaa El-Din , Tuesday 8 Mar 2016
Taxi drivers protest against Uber
Taxi drivers protest against foreign ride hailing applications Uber, Careem in Cairo on March 8, 2015 (Photo: Suhail Saleh)
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Hundreds of Egyptian taxi drivers on Tuesday began an open ended strike in Giza's Mostafa Mahmoud Square until the government responds to their demand to shut down foreign ride sharing applications Uber and Careem.

"We won't leave until the applications are shut down completely," Hazem Abo Steit told Ahram Online, a taxi driver and one of the protest's organisers.

Deemed “The Last Call,” the protesters called on Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to interfere.

"Save us, our president," the taxi drivers chanted.

The protest led to a complete closure of roads around the square – a vital thoroughfare in the Giza’s Mohandiseen neighbourhood, a few kilometres outside central Cairo.

According to Abo Steit, the police allegedly fired tear gas at the protesters shortly after the protest started.

Ahram Online tried to reach the interior ministry, but they were not available for comment. 

The decision to stage an open ended sit in came after drivers told Ahram Online that they felt that their demands were being ignored on purpose by officials.

"We will leave when an official comes to talk to us," Abo Steit said. 

Another taxi protest also took place near Almaza in Heliopolis, where police also allegedly fired teargas, leading the protesters to join the strike at Mostafa Mahmoud Square.

In earlier protests, taxi drivers have argued that “illegally operating” companies were stealing their livelihood and creating strife between taxi drivers and passengers.

White taxi drivers’ key argument is that Uber and Careem must be suspended in Egypt because they function illegally, as they use private cars whose drivers do not have taxi licenses and do not have the financial and legal obligations imposed on taxis.

Speaking to Ahram Online in an earlier interview, Uber’s Cairo Operation Manager Abdellatif Waked said they are not against taxi drivers and that they understand the fact that they might be upset about some aspects of their operations.

“Cairo has about 20 million people, the market is large, so it is possible that it can accommodate taxi drivers, Uber, and other competitors,” Waked said.

Waked also argued that they’re trying to encourage taxi drivers to join the “Uber platform,” and added that the service is open for negotiations and discussions with taxi drivers to include them in the system.

This is the first step of escalation that taxi drivers have taken following continuous stands in the past weeks.

In the past two weeks, Cairo taxi drivers began protesting against the taxi service operators Uber and Careem, arguing that the companies are putting traditional metre taxis out of business.

 

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Huz
13-03-2016 07:47pm
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M
Most white taxi drivers rig their meters and are unwilling to start the ac and usually say it's not working even when it's a brand new car... First offer better service than competition will be wiped out automatically... Otherwise just keep sitting there till you're arrested
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Expat
09-03-2016 12:05pm
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Idea
The taxi association should release an app. When you enter the taxi you can scan a QR code/enter code of the taxi. You will see name, driver picture, numbers, ratings. If you don't like it get out again. Once the trip begins you press "start", the app will be a separate taxometer and at the end of the trip you can compare "smart Taxometer" with the build-in one. If there is a big difference you can complain to the driver and pay only the smart meter fare. There should also be a panic bottom in the app in case the taxidriver is a bit too "touchy touchy". And off course the rating in the end. If they could manage this I might consider taking a normal taxi again. Otherwise taxis will have the same fate as horse carriages.
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5



DCP
09-03-2016 06:47am
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Ignore fake Uber internet propaganda. It's all lies.
Fake posts made by paid Uber internet trolls. Uber is a massively criminal scam and there is no way to hide it.
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4



Al
09-03-2016 01:56am
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Uber in every sector
Egypt needs an 'Uber' venture in every sector of its economy to put some fire under the bottoms for its sagging lazy public sector providers. Let's start with Tourism; imagine if youth entrepreneurs create professional, secure, clean, competitive, and begging-free tourism services!
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Yasmina
08-03-2016 11:38pm
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Levelize the playing field
When I am in Egypt i always made a flat fee deal with the cab driver, mostly i had nice people to them i tipped generously. The ones who drove dangerously and would not slow down, i made them let me out and i got another cab and paid for the distance i traveled and no tip. Taxi drivers put a lot into obtaining special license and paying for their vehicle. It is costly for them to struggle through so many bureaucratic regulations. So private enterprise needs to step in, weed out bad drivers and unsafe cabs and create competitive services. Sometimes people Are walking and get tired and want to step into the street and get a cab as i do many times. There is room for everyone who is a good driver with a clean cab, just need to organize something intelligent.
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John
08-03-2016 08:54pm
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Welcome to reality
Well... Lets call it open market... Welcome in the reality egyptians...
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medo
08-03-2016 08:43pm
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WHY?
We need the same rules for everyone.... this is an illegal and unauthorised protest... why are they not being arrested?? They are blocking roads and we have laws to cover this! Nobody wants white taxis anymore... we are sick of having our money stolen. IF the government give into their demands, then they must be held accountable for the "fixed meters" and lack of seat belts and other matters they make people not want to use these cars. They cannot complain about competition and then provide a terrible service.
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