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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Careem, Uber to stay on the roads after Egyptian court ban 

Ride-hailing companies to appeal ruling to halt services

Careem is looking to spend $150m on starting food delivery business. Victor Besa / The National
Careem is looking to spend $150m on starting food delivery business. Victor Besa / The National

Ride-hailing companies Uber and Careem will continue to operate in Egypt pending appeals to a court order banning them from offering their services in the Arab world’s most populated country, the companies said.

An Egyptian administrative court issued the decision on Tuesday after a group of taxi-drivers filed a case in February last year accusing the Dubai-based Careem and San Francisco-based Uber of violating traffic laws by using private-owned vehicles for commercial purposes.

“We will continue as business as usual,” a Careem spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Should any verdict be reached against the ride-hailing industry, we will follow the requisite judicial procedures available under Egyptian Law.” Uber will appeal the court ruling and continue to be available in Egypt in the meantime, a company spokesperson said in a statement.

Egypt, a country of nearly 100 million people with massive public transport demand, is one of the biggest regional markets for the ride-sharing companies. The court case follows a series of legal hurdles that Uber has faced in countries around the world.

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Drivers of Egypt’s white taxi cabs have protested against the two ride-hailing companies, who entered the market in 2014, after they began to lose customers.

“We are fully committed to working with the entire sector – including taxis – to improve mobility in Egypt together,” Uber said.

Careem said it addressed these issues with solutions including the integration of white taxi cabs into its network in Greater Cairo and Hurghada in September 2016, and plans to extend the service in other Egyptian cities.

Careem has three million riders in Egypt, one of its leading markets in the region, and has based its call center in Cairo to serve the entire region. It worked with the government to create more than 100,000 jobs for Egyptians, it said.

Egypt is Uber's biggest market in the Middle East, where it has four million users and 157,000 drivers, it said.