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Taxi drivers call for ‘complete ban’ of ride hailing apps

By Maram Kayed - Nov 14,2018 - Last updated at Nov 14,2018

This photo shows hundreds of taxi drivers on Tuesday held a protest in front of Parliament denouncing the deterioration in the demand for their services since introduction of ride-hailing apps (Photo by Osama Aqarbeh)

AMMAN — Hundreds of taxi drivers on Tuesday held a protest denouncing the deterioration in the demand of their services, which they attributed to the licencing of ride-hailing apps.

Protesting in front of Parliament, taxi drivers said their course of action came as a result of Parliament and the Ministry of Transport “turning a blind eye” to their problems.

“Since the beginning of 2016, when those apps were still not licensed, we have told the government repeatedly that these apps are a threat to our business,” said Mohammed Abu Rumman, a taxi driver, noting that “however, instead of banning them, they are now licensed and working on the streets with complete freedom”.

The two major ride-hailing apps in Jordan, Careem and Uber, were granted full-operational licencing as of late 2018. 

After acquiring their licences, Careem and Uber began expanding their services to include cities outside the Amman Governorate. They are currently operating in more than five other governorates.

“Amman was the only affected area for business at first, so I went to Salt. Now, Careem is in Salt. We can’t keep running from their [ride hailing apps’] expansion,” said Abu Mahmoud, a 55-year-old taxi driver.

The solutions for the decline in business, as suggested by protesters, are to “ban the apps completely, with harsh punishments for those who continue to operate after that”.

However, General Director of the Ministry of Transport Anmar Khasawneh pointed out the improbability of that solution, saying “it is not realistic or even applicable to take away licences we have already granted because of a protest”.

He told The Jordan Times that the “better and more realistic solution” was for cab drivers to have an app of their own, just like in other developed countries, which would put them at a “fair level of competition” with ride-hailing apps.

“The ministry will back up and fund the process of creating the app and training the drivers to use it”, Khasawneh concluded.

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