Govt may regulate tariffs of online ride-hailing services

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The Islamabad Transport Authority (ITA) springs into action just days after taxi drivers staged a protest in the country’s capital, Islamabad. The authority suggested that vehicles working for online ride hailing services would be forced to display distinctive stickers and follow government regulated tariffs. Tensions between the ride hailing services and conventional taxi drivers had been rising for a while and this initiative is intended to streamline the rift between both parties.

After several rounds of consultation with the representatives of both ride hailing services and taxi drivers, ITA had put forward some recommendations to mitigate this problem and remove the tension; said Islamabad Transport Authority (ITA) Secretary Jawad Muzaffar to APP. In this regard, a checklist is being compiled to cover all legal as well as technical loopholes to regulate online ride hailing services. Consequently, this checklist will be shared with all the concerned departments for consultation and amendments. Some of these recommendations are:

  • Fitness Certificate for private cars working for the online ride-hailing services such as Careem and Uber. As obvious, this certificate will be issued by Motor Vehicle Examiner (MVE).
  • Route permit will be issued for private vehicles working for these online ride hailing services.
  • These vehicles will be forced to display stickers on recommended places.

In addition to these recommendations, Jawad highlighted that:

  • A fare-list will be issued to online ride hailing services, which would have to be followed.
  • Excise and Taxation department has proposed to convert the online ride-hailing based vehicle’ status from private to commercial.

In today’ world where consumers prefer to search services on the internet, it is becoming very difficult for traditional taxi drivers to survive. A fact, which is echoed by many drivers from both sides, albeit in a drastically different manner. However, where two major sides disregard each other by claiming:

  • They provide better and economical services (drivers from Ride hailing services)
  • They are being robbed of their livelihood (Cab drivers)

There is, however, a minority in this conflict which advocates the regulation of these newly arrived online ride-hailing businesses. Highlighting the unfairness of situation by relaying a fact: that they have been paying heavy taxes over the years for operating a commercial vehicle. Their demand is simple: regulate all such businesses to create a level playing field for better competition.

It should be noted that earlier this year, ride hailing services had run into trouble with Capital’s district authorities after a notification was issued labelling them as outlaws; servicing in Islamabad without registering with any regulatory body. This then initiated a crackdown on them but this crisis was averted by ride hailing service when they acquired a stay from the court against this crackdown.

Hanan is an avid auto enthusiast with a flair for writing and playing games. He loves traveling, deciphering political maneuvering and exploring the realms of coding & graphic designing.

Notable Replies

  1. I would stand against for changing of status from private to commercial as this would increase the tax on vehicle and will bring down the service. Remember, drivers of these service are educated people working on private jobs, in-order to meet the financials costs, they work part time so as to cover the family’s expenditure and they are doing a great service to the public on a very reasonable price.

    Display of sticker: Again, drivers of these service is an educated class, sticker on their private vehicle would be a stigma of “Taxi Driver” which would discourage them. Everyone wants to earn and work extra hours but not at expense of someone trying to label you as under classed. Our society is very class conscious, which would discourage anyone with white collar job being labeled by another as a taxi driver and that hurts and is an issue with our society.

    Third, why does government not try to regulate the business of unregulated road side taxi drivers, who break every signal, drive from wrong side, stops on wrong side of road, charge very high amount from passenger, vehicles breaks down in center, contribute to pollution, does not pays even a penny worth of tax, chokes traffic and become poor man once they crash into someone vehicle in act of traffic violation.

  2. Pakistani civilian government comprises one of the silliest persons to walk this planet, they always act against the welfare of the general public their being out cast from the general public is being evidenced by this action against companies that are trying to break the monopoly of uneducated and living beings, hardly qualifying to be called even humans. The inefficient government says taxes and fitness certificates? Is the damn Yellow cab even fit to run on roads, I guess the examiner himself must have unfit eyes and other body parts that he might use to examine the vehicle. I mean, how many times a rickshaw and cab breaks down in the middle of the call? Also these thieves are not even fit for a valid drivers license. Oblivious to others misery they still feign ignorance and cause damage to other people's property and then act poor and penniless. Actually the government had become so bloated, that to them PKR 100 for just under 1.5 KM for a jerky rickshaw is fine. SHAME ON THEM MAY THE COURT INTERVENES AGAIN AND INSHAALLAH SAVE THE DAY.
    One thing more; instead of trying to rob from the white collar and the tax paying circle this extra earning and killing a competitor to conventional rickshaws and taxis, the government should try and impart basic religious / ethical education among the poor but the most corrupt members of the society.

  3. aa78 says:

    How about regulating the yellow cabs and any other taxi vehicle on equal footing?

    1. Vehicle must not be more than 10 years old because of breakdown due to excessive usage and wear and tear. If older than that, the vehicle must be deemed as not being road-worthy.

    2. Drivers must be educated (minimum matric pass) and English speaking so that any tourists and foreigners can interact with them comfortably. It will help with interaction with them and make sure they can't take the plea of being uneducated/anparh with regards to following traffic rules.

    3. No taxi may have its speedometer/odometer disconnected at any time to ensure accurate evaluation of the car's mileage and resultant wear and tear. Any such car found must be impounded permanently.

    4. All taxi vehicles must use a tamper-proof meter for calculating fare. Fares may vary based on class and condition of car alongside education of driver and proper license. Receipts MUST be given for rides and must include breakdown of every charge and taxes. No muk-muka of fare allowed so all taxi services remain on equal footing. All fare rates must be clearly labelled/mentioned and in view of passenger.

    5. Any driver not following the rates or refusing to go to required destination (due to distance, existing travel direction, or not having potential customers at destination or for any other reason) must be fined heavily and his/her vehicle impounded for minimum 6 months.

    6. All actual drivers and their vehicles with up-to-date addresses and contact numbers must be registered with central authority so that tracking down in case of luggage left in vehicle or any misappropriate event can be made easier.

    7. All such vehicles must have a tracker installed to know their location by same central authority.

  4. ib94a says:

    I think that all traditional taxi drivers should go online like uber and careem. we should have go with new technology. Most traditional taxi driver are uneducated and most of them not maintain their van up to date it seats are in very poor condition and customer have to bargain with them they charge fare very high so I think government force to traditional taxi driver to follow uber and careem and join its network and in this connection government should help these traditional taxi drivers through training and financially. No sticker or banner needed to run online taxi because it is most safe and all information of driver and van sent to customer and it also track through GPS. So i suggest concerned authorities to take steps to train taxi driver for online taxi.

  5. how ironic that they want new model efi cars to get "Fitness Certificate" . what about old carburetor based vehicles with blue smoke coming out of the tail pipe? plus i cant make one thing out of traditional taxi drivers protest that they want to keep looting the general public and want a ban on careem/uber? WTF to that. we as customers should stand with careem and uber because they are providing better services with better cars and on very minimal prices.

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