Politics

Uber, Careem Banned In Pakistan

Earlier today, Uber and Careem Taxi services were banned in Punjab, Pakistan, and now, the Ministry of Transport Sindh has issued a notice banning both in the province as well. The Ministry of Transport issued a notification to PTA to ban the Uber and Careem apps immediately.

“Uber and Careem must take fitness certificate,” the Ministry says.

Taxi Uber Lyft
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Sindh government asks PTA to block Uber, Careem

The notification says that the ride-sharing services must not only take the route permit and excise license, but also the fitness certificate, notes Samaa.

The provincial government further stated that the failure of Careem and Uber to obtain the necessary fitness certificates and route permits for their fleet of vehicles has led to a great loss for the government. Field traffic officers have been directed to make sure that prompt action is taken against these illegal ride-hailing apps and that they are not allowed to operate in the province.

The Sindh government has also sought stern legal action against the two services. Tuaha Farooqui, the Sindh Secretary Transport, said there are three types of NOCs which the management of Uber and Careem had to obtain.

Farooqui told the Express Tribune, “When private cars are used as commercial vehicles they have to pay Rs160 annually to the Excise and Taxation department. However, they are not required to change their number plates.”

He said the management of the two companies needs to get fitness certificates from them and get them registered with the Regional Transport Authority (RTA). The ride-hailing apps are free to operate once these requirements are fulfilled.

Farooqui told the media outlet that they had written about 12 letters to Careem to comply with the legal issues. He also said Uber’s management made a commitment to go through the legal process, but only eight of their cars were registered.

Such services pose a security threat

Earlier on Tuesday, the Punjab government denounced the services of mobile app ride-sharing providers as illegal and declared strict action against them. The services being suspended include Uber, Careem and A-One.

To make sure that these services were not allowed on the roads of Lahore, a notification was sent to the Chief Traffic Officer of Lahore, but it is still uncertain if the ban is valid for just Lahore or if other cities in Punjab are part of the order as well, notes the Tribune.

The two ride-hailing services have been providing transport services “without registering private cars with any regulatory body,” states the notification. The notification adds that such services are not only breaking local laws but also pose a security threat since private vehicles are being used for transportation.

Pakistan is a relatively newer entrant to the ride-hailing landscape. Careem – headquartered in Dubai – launched its services in the middle of last year, while Uber came to the country in March. Uber says Pakistan is one of its fastest-growing markets, while Careem says its local operations have increased at the rate of 50% month-on-month, notes the Tribune.