Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) declared Uber illegal just a couple of days after its launch in Bangladesh.
Anyone violating the government’s policies will be punished strictly. BRTA Director Nurul Islam said,
“Uber violates the taxicab policy of Bangladesh. A company needs to take permission from the BRTA before running a taxi service, but Uber did not before its launch, therefore we declared the service illegal by publishing a notice in different newspapers.”
ICT Secretary Shyam Sunder Sikder said,
“There is no legal barrier for apps like Uber in our country, but there is the issue of using private vehicles for commercial purposes: it is not allowed here.”
According to “Taxicab Service Guideline-2010” of Bangladesh, prospective companies must seek approval from Road Transport and Highways Division via the BRTA. Also, the vehicles that are rented or run on fare must be painted in different color from other vehicles.
Uber, a San Francisco based e-hailing service, allows the drivers to use the vehicles which do not necessarily look like a cab (yellow and black). The individuals owning a car can become drivers and can earn fares by picking passengers up from specified locations. Uber has been rigorously expanding its services globally since it was launched seven years ago. Uber introduced its service in Pakistan earlier this year and then in Bangladesh on November 22, 2016.
Road Transport Minister Obaidul Quader said that the country appreciates any digital venture as long as it follows a legal framework.
An Uber’s spokesperson told Dhaka Tribune,
“Uber is a technology platform that has transformed urban mobility in more than 450 cities across 74 countries by connecting riders with drivers at the tap on a smartphone app. In line with the government’s vision of Digital Bangladesh we want to work with the government and policymakers to help bring innovation to our cities through constructive dialogue and engagement.”
BRTA Secretary Sawkat Ali told Tribune that government will have to amend Road Transport Act 2016 in order to allow Uber to run its business in Bangladesh.