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.