CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s parliament passed a law on Monday regulating ride-sharing apps Uber and Careem, potentially ending a lawsuit that could shut them down in one of their biggest markets but imposing new fees and data sharing requirements.
FILE PHOTO: Employees work inside Uber’s Centre of Excellence office in Cairo, Egypt October 10, 2017. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/File Photo
Legalising the increasingly popular ride-sharing services became urgent in March when an Egyptian court ordered their suspension after a group of taxi drivers filed a suit, arguing they were illegally using private cars as taxis.
Another court last month stayed that ruling, allowing U.S.-based Uber and its Dubai-based competitor Careem to continue operating while the case is appealed. A higher court is expected to hear the appeal later this week.
Uber has faced regulatory and legal setbacks around the world amid opposition from traditional taxi services. It has been forced to quit several countries, such as Denmark and Hungary.
Uber has said Egypt is its largest market in the Middle East, with 157,000 drivers in 2017 and 4 million users since its launch there in 2014.
The new law stipulates that ride-sharing companies obtain five-year renewable licences for a fee of 30 million Egyptian pounds ($ 1.71 million) and that drivers pay annual fees to obtain special licences to work with the company.
“This is a major step forward for the ride-sharing industry as Egypt becomes one of the first countries in the Middle East to pass progressive regulations,” Uber said in a statement.
“We will continue working with the prime minister and the cabinet in the coming months as the law is finalised, and look forward to continuing to serve the millions of Egyptian riders and drivers that rely on Uber.”
The law also requires the companies to retain user data for 180 days and share it with authorities “on request” and “according to the law,” according to a copy of the law reviewed by Reuters.
An earlier draft of the bill had called for real-time data sharing by the companies, but that prompted some opposition in parliament due to privacy concerns.
The law must now be ratified by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Uber said last year it was committed to Egypt despite challenges presented by sweeping economic reforms and record inflation. In October, Uber announced a $ 20 million investment in its new support center in Cairo.
It has had to make deals with local car dealerships to provide its drivers with affordable vehicles and adjust its ride prices to ensure its workers were not hit too hard by inflation.
($ 1 = 17.5900 Egyptian pounds)
Reporting by Nashaat Hamdi, Mahmoud Mourad, and Eric Knecht; Editing by Mark Potter
DUBAI (Reuters) – Middle East ride-hailing app Careem said on Wednesday it had resumed services in the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank after striking a deal with Palestinian transport authorities.
FILE PHOTO: An employee shows the logo of ride-hailing company Careem on his mobile in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
Dubai-based Careem suspended services in Ramallah last November, four months after launching there, at the request of the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank.
Careem said in a statement it had agreed with the Palestinian transport ministry for its fares to be the same as metered taxis. It has resumed services only with licensed taxi drivers but plans to later add private cars.
Careem believes its services will remain competitive even with fares the same as for regular taxis. It said the taxi booking and payment services on its app were convenient compared with hailing a cab on the street.
Ride-hailing apps have faced opposition in many markets around the world by making inroads into the traditional taxi industry.
Careem said it had signed up hundreds of drivers in the West Bank, where the Palestinian unemployment rate is high.
The ride-hailing company has raised over $ 500 million and expanded to over 90 cities across 13 countries predominantly in the Middle East since launching in 2012.
Careem started services in the West Bank city of Nablus and in Gaza City this year and said it would continue looking at adding more cities in the tiny Palestinian-ruled enclave.
Careem is a Middle East rival to U.S. company Uber Technologies [UBER.UL], which does not operate in the Palestinian territories.
Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Mark Heinrich
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Uber [UBER.UL] and Yandex’s ride-sharing businesses can merge in Russia, anti-monopoly regulator FAS ruled on Friday, but stipulated that the combined company not bar drivers from working for competitors.
FILE PHOTO: A taxi with the logo of Russian online taxi service Yandex Taxi drives past a terminal of the Domodedovo Airport outside Moscow, Russia, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Uber and Yandex, often referred to as the “Google of Russia”, announced plans in July to combine operations in 127 cities in Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Kazakhstan.
San Francisco-based Uber has agreed to invest $ 225 million while Yandex will contribute $ 100 million into a new joint company in which Yandex will own 59.3 percent.
The two companies must allow their partners, drivers and passengers to work for or use competitors’ services and fully inform users of the legal entity providing the service, the FAS said in a statement.
Yandex said consumers would be able to use both Yandex.Taxi and Uber apps, while their driver apps will be integrated, leading to shorter passenger wait times, increased driver utilization rates, and higher service reliability.
The companies aim to close the deal in January 2018, after the New Year holidays in Russia, Yandex said in a statement.
Moscow-listed Yandex was up 3.47 percent as of 1123 GMT.
It said the anti-monopoly regulator in Belarus had also approved the deal while a decision by the Kazakh regulator was pending.
Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; editing by Jason Neely
With their latest outage, Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides business leaders with a stark reminder: The public cloud is not infallible, the public cloud does not guarantee high availability and when it goes down, it does it magnificently. Which is why Hybrid IT is so valuable.
Yesterday afternoon, Amazon Web Services (AWS) experienced a significant and prolonged outage that brought a number of popular websites and services down. While Amazon is more readily known for its online retail business, the company’s cloud services division has quickly become a huge money maker for the Jeff Bezos-led company. What’s more, AWS provides the backbone for many well-known sites, including Netflix and Quora.
“We are investigating increased error rates for Amazon S3 requests in the US-EAST-1 Region,” Amazon said yesterday amidst a flurry of confusion and frustration.
The problem was eventually resolved, but not before a number of services from Apple were affected. For a brief while yesterday, iOS users experienced difficulties accessing the App Store, Apple Music, iCloud backups, iWork and other cloud-based services.