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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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