Punjab Government has declared the mobile app taxi service providers including Careem, Uber, and A-One as illegal.
A notice “Illegal Operations of private cars as taxi under the umbrella of Careem, Uber and A-One cab service in Lahore” has been issued by Punjab Provincial Transport Authority to the Chief Traffic Officer, Lahore, and CEO Lahore Transport Company.
The notification reads that the aforementioned companies have been offering cab services through the mobile application without registering the private vehicles with any regulatory body and without obtaining fitness certificate/route permits of the private cars, hence causing great loss to the Government.
Also, the unregistered vehicles can be a threat to security. These companies are violating many sections of Motor Vehicles Ordinance, 1965, by doing so. Also, the drivers are not cleared by the security authorities.
A strict action will be taken against such companies and their services will be halted in Lahore for the safety of general public. There has been no information about the fact that whether their services in other cities of Punjab will be banned or not.
Uber, a US-based transportation company, started its services in Lahore in 2016 and then expanded to other cities of Pakistan. The services include cab and uberAUTO. The passengers just have to submit their trip requests through the mobile app and a driver reaches to pick them up.
Government & Ride-hailing Services
Uber and Careem executives have been seen several times shaking hands with the government and partnering for various schemes. Uber and Bank of Punjab signed a MoU in November 2016 where both parties agreed to work together to bring over 50,000 green cab and yellow cab customers on Uber platform. Uber also signed a partnership with Government of Punjab for Apna Rozgar Scheme.
In the light of these interactions, the notice appears to be uncalled for. If their services were illegal, why has govt been collaborating with them and endorsing them on social media? Chairman of Punjab IT Board says,
Working on the Uber and Careem issue. Better sense will prevail. Hold your judgements.
— Umar Saif (@umarsaif) January 31, 2017
Careem MD’s response
Careem MD Junaid Iqbal went live on Facebook, speaking about the issue. He said that they are in talks with Government about the issue. No specific regulations have been formed yet about ride-hailing, which is a new kind of technology. Many countries are amending and introducing new guidelines for ride-hailing like in India, Saudi Arabia etc.
Update: The notice was dispatched on January 27 but there’s been no news whether it has been implemented yet. Uber has not released any official statement about this notification.
The story will be updated upon receiving further information.