File photo: Taxi drivers protest against foreign ride hailing applications Uber, Careem in Cairo on March 8, 2015 (Photo: Suhail Saleh)
Egypt’s cabinet decided on Wednesday to regulate the Uber and Careem car-hailing services by drafting new legislation after hearing recommendations by a ministerial committee, state news agency MENA reported.
The legislation will both “protect citizens’ rights to choose the manner of transportation that suits them and also ensure that traditional taxi drivers would find work and make money,” the cabinet said in a statement, according to MENA.
Last week, taxi drivers parked their vehicles in Mostafa Mahmoud Boulevard in Mohandiseen, a few kilometres from central Cairo, and blocked traffic to demand the government shut down the "foreign ride sharing applications."
The taxi drivers union says that Uber and Careem must be suspended in Egypt because they “function illegally,” arguing that since the services' drivers use private cars, they do not hold the correct licences and are not obliged to meet the same financial and legal regulations imposed on taxis.
Following the Mostafa Mahmoud protest, the cabinet tasked a ministerial committee with investigating the legal status of the car-hailing apps.
The draft legislation, which will take one month to complete, would stipulate that private car owners who work with Uber and Careem would have to pay the insurance and taxes imposed on taxi drivers.
However, it is still unclear whether they would pay the same amount as taxi drivers.
The committee also recommended that traditional taxi drivers “be included in these car-hailing apps.”
According to Egyptian law, if an individual with a private vehicle licence uses his car to transport passengers in return for a fare, his licences could be revoked.