White Taxi drivers protest Uber on Tuesday 8 March, 2016 in Cairo (Photo: Suhail Saleh)
Egypt's cabinet ordered on Wednesday the formation of a ministerial committee to investigate the legal status of Uber and Careem services, one day after taxi drivers used their vehicles to block a major thoroughfare in a Giza suburb.
The taxi drivers assembled in Mostafa Mahmoud Boulevard in Mohandiseen, a few kilometres from central Cairo, to demand the government shut down the "foreign ride share applications."
The taxi drivers’ union charges that Uber and Careem must be suspended in Egypt because they function illegally on the basis that they use private cars, the services' drivers do not hold the correct licenses and that they are not obliged to meet the same financial and legal regulations imposed on taxis.
The committee, headed by the justice minister, will discuss the issue of “private cars being used for commercial purposes and the drivers receiving payment for transporting individuals,” state news agency MENA reported.
The cabinet tasked the committee to submit a recommendations report by next week on how to deal with the controversy surrounding Uber and Careem.
The committee will include the ministers of transportation, finance, investments, social solidarity, and local development, along with a representative of the interior minister.
In recent weeks, taxi drivers have been setting up ambushes for Uber drivers on Cairo streets and then handing them over to the police.
Police have also detained some Uber drivers on the grounds that they illegally use their private vehicles as taxis without proper licenses.
On Tuesday, security forces attempted to disperse the taxi drivers' protest using teargas.
According to Egyptian law, if an individual with a private car license uses his car to transport passengers in return for a fare the police have the right to revoke both his drivers’ and car license.