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Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Uber testing plans to include taxis in Egypt services

Zeinab El-Gundy , Tuesday 28 Jan 2020
Uber
Uber
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Uber Egypt said on Tuesday that it was testing incorporating existing taxi cabs into the ride-hailing services it offers in the country.

The service had had success in other markets, Uber said in a statement.

Taxis are “an integral part” of Egypt’s transportation system, Uber said, adding that the testing is part of its aims to meet the different needs of the Egyptian market, “while continuing to create economic opportunities for drivers.”

The White Taxi Drivers and Owners Association, Egypt's biggest grouping of taxi drivers, said on Tuesday, however, that it was against the move.

"Uber wants to take a 17.1 percent commission from white taxi drivers without any additional benefit to the driver,” Mahmoud Abdel Hamid, head of the association, told Ahram Online.

He said that taxi drivers at present are facing “huge financial burdens, from fuel prices to taxes and insurance."

Abdel Hamid also revealed to Ahram Online that his association, which includes 7,000 members, is planning to launch an app for riders in March, providing a set of benefits to the taxi drivers, including health insurance.

"This app is for taxis only, and we have reached an agreement with the app company to take a percentage from the customer themselves as a commission, and not from the taxi drivers," he said.

“Uber and [ride-hailing app] Careem have already affected white taxis’ business in Egypt with the negative press they spread when they entered the market a couple of years ago, and now Uber wants to include us.”

Careem, which was acquired by Uber earlier this month, already tried to include the taxi drivers a couple of years ago, Abdel Hamid said, but the experience was a failure, such that no one remembers it.

"Uber just took over the database of taxi drivers from Careem,” he said.

According to Abdel Hamid, there are nearly 376,000 taxis in Egypt, and more than 120,000 white taxis in Cairo alone.

Uber started operating in Egypt in 2014.

Egypt is among Uber's top ten markets globally, with 200,000 active drivers.

The company plans to make $100 million in investments in the country over five years, starting in 2019.  

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