Egypt approves bill for ride-hailing services

In March, a court banned Uber and Careem in response to lawsuit from taxi drivers

Cairo: The Egyptian parliament on Monday passed a bill legalizing the operation of ride-hailing services in the country, more than a month after a court banned them.

The bill sets rules for the service, including paying taxes equal to those charged over traditional taxis in addition to an extra tax of 25 per cent.

The law also obliges owners of private vehicles used in the service to obtain an operation permit and display a distinct sign on the cars when in operation.

Violators risk a minimum fine of 200,000 Egyptian pounds (Dh 41,750). The service providers are given a six-month break to readjust their status to the new rules.

On March 20, the Administrative Court ordered revoking operating licences of Uber and Careem in Egypt and demanded authorities to block the service-related mobile apps.

The verdict came in response to a lawsuit brought by local taxi drivers, who accused both companies of violating the country’s traffic law that bans the use of private cars as taxis. The two firms started operation in Egypt in 2014. They employ thousands of Egyptians and have a multi-million-dollar investment in the country.

They have since established a wide base of customers, who are dissatisfied with the traditional taxi service.

Both firms and the government appealed the ban at the Higher Administrative Court, which is expected to make a decision next week.

A day after the March ruling, the government also presented to the legislature a draft law regulating the ride-hailing service, saying it also aims at protecting interests of taxi drivers.

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