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Taxi drivers stage protest against ride-hailing apps

By Jassar Al Tahat - Apr 25,2017 - Last updated at Apr 25,2017

Taxi drivers protest the implementation of ride-hailing apps in front of Parliament on Tuesday (Photo by Osama Aqarbeh)

AMMAN — Dozens of taxi drivers picketed Parliament in Amman on Tuesday to protest the implementation of taxi hailing apps such as Careem and Uber. 

As taxi drivers held banners expressing their anger caused by these apps, a committee from the protesters met with the head of the Lower House’s Transportation Committee and the Minister of Transport Hussein Al Souob to discuss their demands and to follow up on promises given to them after previous demonstrations.

One of the protesters, Mohammad Abu Heja, told The Jordan Times that “the committee — calling themselves the “Capital Knights” — addressed the Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Interior and the Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission to take action against these illegal applications”.

“We were promised that these applications would cease operation within a month, but it has been almost two months and no action has been taken,” added Abu Heja.

Alaa Ataya, a taxi driver, said: “I am here to demand justice for us, and to see the law implemented”.

“These applications are only operating because of corrupt officials, and most of the drivers working for these applications are not even Jordanian,” added Ataya.

“Our licensed cars cost around JD60,000, while private cars cost around JD10,000, so we cannot compete with them since buying or renting licensed cars puts a huge financial burden on us,” the driver explained.

Fadi Abu Khasa, who has been a taxi driver since 2002, said that “since 2015, these applications have taken a huge chunk of our operation, without any licensing or oversight. We live under the rule of law, and these applications are not abiding by the law”.

“Before this crisis, we, as taxi drivers, used to work 12-14 hours a day to come home with JD15-20 to feed our children, but now we barely make JD5-10,” Abu Khasa added.

“We support the technology and the idea of having taxi hailing applications, but they should be operating with licenced taxies,” Abu Khasa concluded.

One of the members of the Capital Knights committee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said “the meeting did not result in anything’’. 

‘‘We were supposed to meet with the minister of information and communication technology, but he is avoiding responsibility.”

“MP Khaled Abdullah, head of the Lower House Transport Committee, was very cooperative and both he and the minister of transport said they are doing what they can, and that they should address the minster of ICT ,” the taxi drivers’ representative continued.   

 

The protesters accused officials of corruption and demanded the resignation of the ministers of transport ICT. They also pleaded with His Majesty King Abdullah to resolve the issue. 

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Comments

As an expat, I am totally up for hailing cab via app services, the drivers are courteous and professionals compared to regular taxi drivers. I've been here long enough to conclude that the local cabbies are mostly illiterate disgraced to society, their rude and don't represent Jordan positively almost all of them are frustrated over government high rise petrol prices and ends up surcharging customers5 over the meter price, some don't nother either turning on the meter or giving correct change back. I hope either they change their approach or move on to other profession as there's no room for crying babies.

While I understand their concern, i would also like to state that these apps are doing well due to ESPECIALLY the foreign & expat community in Jordan. I have been in Amman for over 5 months now & my husband has been here for the last 3 years. Sadly, even though we would like to support the day to day tax paying taxi driver, 60%-70% of our experiences with them have been really bad. Most of them are absolutely rude and almost always, ALWAYS ask for extra cash. We've gotten off so many taxi's halfway into our trip because they have argued with us for extra cash than what the meter cost. They don't want to take your advice on what roads to go down & most of the time smoke without even asking the passenger if they're ok with it. If you disagree with something they're asking for or ask them to take a certain road then they mutter stuff in Arabic to you which isn't really a pleasant experience especially for a woman traveling by herself.

Most careem drivers even though they may not be paying taxes, they are still very decent and very attentive to the customers needs. I've never had an argument with any of the drivers & most importantly most of us feel very very safe traveling in a careem because we know that the company runs background checks and a bad rating on the app means the issue will be dealt with. They've never asked for extra cash and even if they don't have change, the extra cash is always credited into your balance to be used for a next trip. This makes me want to tip and pay extra to a careem driver rather than a normal taxi most of the time.

We've had friends who have been robbed whilst traveling in normal taxi's whereas your trip with careem or uber is always monitored and the doors are always locked to ensure that the customer not only feels safe but is actually safe whilst traveling with them.

I honestly do not feel that the tax issue is what these taxi drivers should be worried about and should be more concerned with making their customer experiences more safe and easy going. They need to start treating their customers like people, stop asking for extra cash so someone would actually feel like tipping them extra and stop treating their customers like someone jacking a ride in their car for free. This is the MAIN REASON that these apps are doing better than the day to day taxI...

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