Careem, Uber reach agreement with Sindh government

SHC wants mechanism submitted by April 27 in case relating to commercial operation of private vehicles


Naeem Sahoutara April 06, 2017
Punjab Transport Authority, chief traffic officer in Lahore asked to submit their replies by February 20. PHOTO: CREATIVE COMMONS

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) directed the provincial authorities and private hail-ride cab services to finalise a mechanism to regulate the commercial operation of their private vehicles by them.

A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi, granted time to the lawyers representing the provincial government as well as Careem and Uber services to submit such a mechanism in the court by April 27.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by a resident, Ahsan Puri, who had taken the authorities and the private cab services to court over illegal operations of private vehicles being plied by both the cab services in the province without getting them registered for commercial use.

During Wednesday's proceedings, the judges were informed that the provincial transport department and hail-ride cab services had reached an agreement under which their vehicles will be registered for commercial use and permits issued under the Motor Vehicles Ordinance, 1965.

SHC issues notice to Careem for operating 'illegally'

They said that a draft of the mechanism had also been sent to the law department, adding the same was expected to be finalised soon. They undertook to submit the mechanism in court once it was given a final shape and requested for time to do so.

Allowing the request, the bench granted them time till April 27 to finalise the proposed mechanism and submit the same in the court by the next date of hearing.

Earlier, the provincial transport department's secretary had informed the court that letters had been addressed to Careem, Uber and other cab services, requiring them to fulfil all the requisite legal requirements, such as registering the private vehicles they were using for commercial purposes.

Karachi Traffic DIG Asif Ejaz Shaikh also informed the court that his department was regularly monitoring the operations of the hail-ride cab services in the city.

Careem had maintained that it was using the latest information technology in its operations in order to ensure safe and secure rides for its customers. It had also said the laws of the provincial government as well as traffic laws were being complied with.

Case history

The petitioner had alleged that the foreign-originated companies were carrying out operations in Pakistan through internet and mobile phone applications.

He said the company provides taxi services, hence fits the definition of a motor cab under the Motor Vehicle Rules, 1959. Under the company's policy, the owner of any type of private vehicle could give the vehicle to Careem, which was using them as taxis that were not registered as commercial vehicles under the Sindh Motor Vehicle Taxation and Registration Act. The company pays the owners Rs80,000 to Rs90,000 per month, he added.

Careem, Uber given a month to get cars commercially registered

Puri said the respondent company was violating provisions of the Sindh Motor Vehicle Tax Act, 1958, the Motor Vehicle Rules, 1959, and the Motor Vehicle Ordinance, 1965, which specifically provide that no non-commercial vehicle could be used for commercial purposes. These vehicles must have a certificate of fitness issued by the provincial transport department, the traffic police or other departments.

He added that the company was using its vehicles as taxis, which had no signboard or symbol, making it difficult for law enforcement agencies, including traffic police, to check all the relevant legal requirements to determine the fine for such vehicles in case of violations.

Puri added that the vehicles did not have fare meters installed in the cabs. He contended that the private owners of such vehicles were earning millions of rupees without disclosing their assets to the government, thus huge tax evasion was being carried out.

Therefore, he had pleaded that the court direct the provincial transport department and Karachi traffic DIG to take action against the operations of the foreign company for violating the laws.

COMMENTS (2)

HateZaka | 4 years ago | Reply What about whitecab, metrocab, daewoo cab etc that are also running with non commercial number and without permit since almost a decade.
BrainBro | 4 years ago | Reply So, Zardari & Co. join the Uber business - officially.
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