It seems that go-to solution to anything these days is to protest – as Cairo taxi drivers have shown, with many urging the Egyptian government to band on-demand taxi services, Uber & Careem.
Set to take place at 6PM today (Thursday 4th) at Mostafa Mahmoud Square, the planned protest is pointing to the fact that drivers working for both companies are operating while unlicensed as taxis – something they claim is that is negatively impacting the independent black/white taxis.
On this issue alone, they may have a point; this is not the first time Uber has been the ire of taxi drivers. The San Francisco-based company has ran in to trouble with cab drivers, taxi companies and governments across the world for the same reason, with protests having been held in Germany, India, Spain, Colombia, France, Italy, Denmark, Canada, China and England, last year, and more recently in Paris this week. The argument is the same: they claim that Uber presents unfair competition, because the company doesn’t pay taxes or licensing fees, and so that in itself endangers passengers.
On the flip-side, many users of Uber and Careem in Cairo have leapt to the defence of the two companies, pointing out that white taxis have become unusable for many and that Uber and Careem are more reliable, safer and cheaper – because you know that old chestnut, el 3adad mesh sha3′aal. The hashtag #TaxiInEgypt has even been doing the rounds on Twitter as Cairenes share their bad experience with white taxis.
As things stand, Uber is partially banned in several countries across the world, in including Holland and Germany, while the service has suspended operation in several cities across the US. Whether Cairo follows suit remains to be seen, but the general sentiment towards the protesting drivers from Uber and Careem users is pretty clear: we wouldn’t have to use them if you you guys weren’t so bad.
By Lance Uppercut