Uber and Careem are about to pay millions in fees and compromise customer privacy to operate in Egypt.
The Egyptian Government just passed a law regulating ride-sharing apps according to Enterprise; namely Uber and Careem. The law allows Uber and Careem to operate, however they have 6 months to obtain operating licenses which will last for 5 years. The licenses will cost EGP 30 million, however only 25% will be paid up front and the rest will be paid over the five year period. They will also have to pay another undisclosed fee which will be 'less than the license fee' however the exact amount is unknown. Seems like a little mulah is going to be made at Uber and Careem's expense. Other requirements of the law will force Uber and Careem to store Egyptian user data and give out any information if or when security forces come calling. A hefty fine of EGP 500 thousand to EGP 5 million will be slapped on for any companies failing to share their databases with the government if requested.
Uber and Careem are also going to have to recruit some of the white taxis that roam around Cairo after the initial six month period has passed, and they will have three months to plan how to incorporate them into their fleet and train them for quality assurance.
Not only will the companies need to obtain licenses, but so will drivers. Each driver will have to pay EGP two thousand for an annual license to work for the ride-sharing companies and also pay 25% more taxes than regular taxi drivers. They will also be required to include a mark or symbol on their car that is yet to be identified so as to distinguish them from other cars.
Drivers and any company which does not obtain the licenses will be fined. For the companies fines will range between EGP 200 thousand and EGP 5 million, while for drivers it will be between EGP 5 thousand and EGP 20 thousand.
None of these fees apply to tuk-tuks as they basically answer to their respective municipalities.
The situation seems a little stark for Uber and Careem, however they seem to see the silver lining in just being allowed to operate legally. Uber spokeswoman Shaden Abdellatif stated that the law is “a major step forward for the ridesharing industry as Egypt becomes one of the first countries in the Middle East to pass progressive regulations,” according to the Associated Press reports. It seems that Uber considers the regulation as a victory due to the fact that Egypt is one of their largest markets and it remains to be seen how the fines will affect the prices of Uber and Careem.