Egypt’s Court of Urgent Matters ruled on Saturday to annul the Cairo Administrative Court’s ruling of suspending the license of two largest ride-hailing applications, Uber and Careem, in Egypt.
The two companies have appealed the Administrative court’s verdict last week before the Court of Urgent Matters.
In February 2017, 42 taxi drivers filed a case against UAE-based Careem and U.S.-based Uber, as well as the Egyptian government, accusing the two companies of violating Egyptian traffic laws, specifically a law that bans the used of private-owned vehicles for commercial purposes.
The taxises also claimed that the two firms were registered as a call center and an internet company, suggesting that they are not legally regulated as ride-hailing services.
In response to these accusations, the Cairo Administrative Court has accepted the case and ordered the suspension of the two companies’ licenses in Egypt.
In an attempt to legalize the status of Uber and Careem, a joint parliamentary committee began immediatley discussing a new draft law to regulate the operation of privately owned transport services.
The Egyptian cabinet sent the draft law on March 21 to the House of Representatives to be officially approved and ratified, hours after the Cairo Administrative ordered the suspension of the two companies’ licenses in Egypt.
According to statements by Ashraf Sultan, official spokesperson of the Egyptian Cabinet, the government has taken serious steps to regulate the operation of ride-hailing services before the recent controversial lawsuit demanding banning the service in the country.
Commenting on the government’s defense that it has no jurisdiction over the matter, the court stated that “no legislation has been issued as of yet to regulate the operation of Uber and Careem in Egypt. So far, only a draft law was prepared by the legislative branch of the Ministry of Justice to prepare for the issuance of a law, but no law has been passed yet.”
The draft law, which comes in 20 articles, stipulates the rules, conditions, and procedures necessary for licensing companies to operate in Egypt. A law to determine that the fees of license for a car should not be exceeded LE 1000 per year.
According to the draft law, the authorized transport vehicles that work with these companies shall pay 25% more than their previous taxes and duties. This law also obligates the Ministry of Transportation to license all companies that already operated this service for five years for the same period after paying their fees.
The Minister of Transport shall specify the number of operating licenses in light of the number of vehicles working with the company, up to a maximum of LE 10 million. The Ministry of Transport shall also specify the standards of vehicles operating according to the state’s transport system.
Moreover, the Minister of Interior Affairs shall issue an order to specify the shape, color and place of the “mark” on each car, a distinctive logo placed on the car throughout the period of operation.
The draft law obligates the GPS-based applications to conduct an electronic link between their databases and information with the competent authorities based on a decision by the Minister of Transport. It also obliges companies to protect the databases of clients in accordance with instructions and regulations issued by the Minister of Communications.