Sindh, Punjab govts move to 'ban' Careem, Uber

Published: January 31, 2017
Services could also face similar restrictions in Islamabad,. PHOTO: CAREEM

Services could also face similar restrictions in Islamabad,. PHOTO: CAREEM

LAHORE / KARACHI / ISLAMABAD: Punjab and Sindh governments moved on Tuesday to regulate and ‘ban’ ride-hailing services Careem and Uber.

Pakistan was a relatively late entrant to the ride-hailing landscape – Dubai-headquartered Careem and Uber were both launched in the country last year.

Punjab Government’s Provincial Transport Authority declared Careem, Uber and other ride-hailing services operating in the province “illegal”.

A notification in this regard was sent to Lahore’s chief Traffic Officer, and CEO of the Lahore Transport Company.

The notification said the two companies have been offering transport services “without registering private cars with any regulatory body.”

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Since private cars, the memo added, are being used for transportation, and they must not be used for commercial purposes, such services are not only violating local laws but also pose a security threat for the public.

The government said the failure of Uber and Careem to obtain the required fitness certificate and route permits for their fleet of cars has resulted in “great loss to the government”.

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According to the notification, field traffic officers were directed to ensure prompt action is taken against “illegal services”.

Sindh govt asks PTA to block Careem app

The Sindh government also sought legal action against the ride-hailing services.

The provincial government declared the use of private cars as taxis without mandatory legal permits as ‘illegal’, asking the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) to block the apps.

Sindh Secretary Transport Tuaha Farooqui said there are three types of NOCs which the management of Careem and Uber were required to obtain.

“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,” Farooqui told The Express Tribune.

The secretary said the management of the two companies have to get themselves registered with the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) and also acquire a fitness certificate. Once these requirements are fulfilled, he said, the companies can operate without any hindrance.

Farooqui said his office wrote about 12 letters to Careem to comply with the legal issues. As for Uber, the secretary transport said their management committed to go through the legal processes; however, only eight of their vehicles were registered.

However, as of now, the ride-hailing services remain operational throughout the country.

Careem, Uber to face restrictions in Islamabad

Following Punjab and Sindh, authorities in the federal capital seemed all set to impose similar restrictions on app-based ride-hailing services.

Sources in the Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA) told The Express Tribune that a notification in this regard will be issued on Wednesday. “We are imposing the same [restrictions] and a notification will be issued in the [Wednesday] morning,” an ICTA official said.

An Islamabad Transport Authority official said they were looking into the matter, adding that the cab services might be restricted under the Motor Vehicle Ordinance since they are not meeting various requirements.

Careem responds

MD Careem Pakistan Junaid Iqbal responded to the ban imposed on Careem and Uber services.

“We are in talks with government institutions to understand where ride-hailing falls in terms of legal guidelines. We aim to work with the government of Pakistan to bring in 100,000 private cars in our service before the end of 2018. Ride-hailing is the new kind of technology and where its legal definition hasn’t yet been addressed,” said Iqbal in a live session on Facebook.

Citing examples of how the services have been adopted all over the world, Iqbal said, “Throughout the world, new regulations are being made to define ride-hailing services for example, in India, the parliament is currently discussing the legal ride-hailing guidelines while in Saudi Arabia all private cars are made public for Saudi nationals.”

Emphasising the role ride-hailing plays in the traffic dynamics of the city, Iqbal said, “In Karachi, whenever there is a road built, Traffic is disturbed. This is where ride-hailing can play an important role. People use their own car predominantly with one passenger. Careem helps with using one car for multiple people to reduce emissions. Hailing and sharing is an inclusive concept that Careem employs.”

Issue will be resolved soon: PITB chairman

Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) chairman Dr Umar Saif said the provincial government was in talks with the app-based ride-hailing companies and hopeful that the issue will be resolved soon.

“We are the ones who brought Uber and Careem to Pakistan,” he said while talking to media. “Initially these ride-hailing services started on experimental basis, but now they have added 10,000-20,000 cars to their networks.”

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“Companies which don’t have their own assets but have a network, in case of these commuting services they have networks of drivers, on such companies network service tax is implied,” he said, adding that the government was formulating policies in consultation with all these new business models as all these emerging new business models require new regulatory and taxation regimes.

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Reader Comments (32)

  • XoF
    Jan 31, 2017 - 12:57PM

    Just tell them the procedures and let them stay. They have given people the kind of service never seen before in the country. Else provide us with it on equal standards.Recommend

  • Hasan.Khan
    Jan 31, 2017 - 1:23PM

    This is a regressive move by Sind and Punjab government.
    Both the consumers and providers were very very happy with the service.Recommend

  • Zain
    Jan 31, 2017 - 1:45PM

    these govts can’t provide decent transport to citizens and not letting some good services run? What is wrong with themRecommend

  • syed shafiq ul hassan
    Jan 31, 2017 - 1:46PM

    instead of benefiting people they are making thing worse.what’s this govt up to?Recommend

  • shahalam
    Jan 31, 2017 - 1:53PM

    compare the service of careem/uber with the transportation having government permission is remarkableRecommend

  • Logitech
    Jan 31, 2017 - 1:57PM

    The old-school rip-off taxis are feeling the pinch – you can read it in the language of the letter. How can Uber and Careem operate with route permits? Taxis don’t have route permits – only wagons, coaches and busses require route permits.

    And if you wanna talk about fitness certificates, how many regular taxis have them? Uber and Careem don’t entertain old cars anyway.Recommend

  • Rumormonger
    Jan 31, 2017 - 1:58PM

    if uber and careem are there no one will use jangla buses.Recommend

  • Amir
    Jan 31, 2017 - 2:01PM

    And we wonder why foreign investments are not coming in….

    Somewhere some functionary did not get his share…Imran Khan take noticeRecommend

  • AW
    Jan 31, 2017 - 2:04PM

    Sad for the people who have already invested in this. And most importantly for general public who were now getting used to these wonderful, hassle free rides. Recommend

  • AD
    Jan 31, 2017 - 2:13PM

    Gov want the Tax money and bribe while providing certificates.
    Thats it.Recommend

  • Adnan
    Jan 31, 2017 - 2:14PM

    The ban is quite of way asking them, where is our share?Recommend

  • Hatim
    Jan 31, 2017 - 2:15PM

    Transport Mafia vs the common people. Unfortunately, the government supports the Mafia. Recommend

  • Gulfam
    Jan 31, 2017 - 2:34PM

    They cannot provide any facility and they don’t like others to provide it.Recommend

  • AK
    Jan 31, 2017 - 2:41PM

    Oh Yes!

    As if they care for people’s welfare. It is “Bhatta” opportunity for the greedy bureaucrats.Recommend

  • Umair
    Jan 31, 2017 - 2:44PM

    What i believe, they must not have given the brief case to the authority :-)Recommend

  • salman
    Jan 31, 2017 - 3:10PM

    These companies are were escaping taxes, times up for them for free rides.Recommend

  • Khan A
    Jan 31, 2017 - 3:12PM

    Heartiest congratulations to the nation for snatching cheap, reliable and comfortable transportation services from the general public, employment from educated and unemployed youth by the Federal & Provincial Governments of popular parties. Such democracy zindabad?Recommend

  • Qamber
    Jan 31, 2017 - 3:13PM

    Transport Mafia Works … !Recommend

  • Khan A
    Jan 31, 2017 - 3:14PM

    Run a poll on this ET. See what the people feel about this decision,Recommend

    Jan 31, 2017 - 3:51PM

    As everybody knows that the public transport system in Lahore and Karachi have been totally collapsed there is no fare meters, dilapidated condition of the vehicles and behaviour of the drivers and conductors with the passengers is not a hidden fact but the officials of transport authority minting money for giving fitness certificate and permit to decades old buses, taxis, rickshaws, wagons and so-called coaches. With the introduction of Uber and Careem the bribed mafia of the PTA or STA have been deprived of bribery which is not acceptable to govt or the officials.
    Either the Sindh government or the Punjab govt both have totally failed to provide the basic facilities to their people and when anyone comes forward to provide best services both governments are trying to hurdle internationally recognized service providers. In the case of Uber or Careem both are getting popularity in general public and today everybody knows who are they and what services they provide. The govts are well-aware about our transportation system. As one feels that this step by the government is only to force people use to use Jangla bus on the other hand ruling class does’nt want to bridge the gap between the upper and middle class and its hard for these people to watch a common man’s ride in peaceful way. It would be great if the CM Sindh and CM Punjab take a rickshaw ride from Tower to
    New Karachi and old Lahore respectively.Recommend

  • Rina Mathews
    Jan 31, 2017 - 4:13PM

    Shame on you government !! its really sad.. people were so conformable with these services !Recommend

  • Sameer
    Jan 31, 2017 - 4:59PM

    CM Sindh and CM Punjab —-take a rikshwa ride or travel in WII or any other Mini bus in Karachi…….and then decide about Uber & Careem. They are living like princes and letting the people to heave a sigh of relief….Shame on you. Recommend

  • Victor K.
    Jan 31, 2017 - 5:19PM

    Actually, they want these companies to bribe the authorities in order to do the business…thats as plain as one can put it. The government regulated or general cabs, buses, etc. have no safety procedures or checks devised by the government, but since they bribe the government in general, they are fine with it. Its the way this corrupt pml-n system works.Recommend

  • FAZ
    Jan 31, 2017 - 5:48PM

    Registration laws are different for commercial and non-commercial vehicles in other countries as well. So how come these services are able to run there?Recommend

  • Abdullah
    Jan 31, 2017 - 6:17PM

    ;:When the careem Start Where Was govt?Today he said its illegal,,,not Pakistan Working proper,Recommend

  • Ayesha
    Jan 31, 2017 - 7:03PM

    Progress leader like Bilawal will never allow a ban of Uber/Careem in province of SindRecommend

  • Ajmal Abbasi
    Jan 31, 2017 - 7:36PM

    Perhaps they want people to love only their show-piece service the Metro and only use that !!Recommend

  • Lolz
    Jan 31, 2017 - 7:51PM

    Check out the legal covers the governments have quoted to support the decision of ban i.e. Road permits, security of public, public transport tax, road safety permits etc. Has anyone ever seen the governments to ever comply or implement these rules/laws on ground, lolz… Recommend

  • Last Man Alive
    Jan 31, 2017 - 10:27PM

    Give’em their share and everything will be alright Recommend

  • Ahmar Khan
    Jan 31, 2017 - 10:39PM

    There is a Careem ad right in the middle of this news.Recommend

  • Salim Toor
    Feb 1, 2017 - 7:33AM

    Government should finalise there share So called tax etc but but actually share wiĺ be in there own pockets.strong textRecommend

  • Haris
    Feb 1, 2017 - 9:56AM

    Uber and Careem will wipe out the whole taxi, rikshaw and chinqchi system of the cities in no time. This is just a technological leap and is bound to happen no matter what hurdle the govt and the mafia would create.Recommend

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