App-based ride services brace for more challenges

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ISLAMABAD, Sept 23 (APP): The novice app-based ride sharing services,
despite winning public appreciation in Pakistan, have to brace more challenges on legal and administrative fronts as the companies are losing
grounds in the international markets for their operational legality.
These services are not only facing legal battles from their opponent
traditional taxi drivers but also have to face internal administrative rifts for not having an organized pay structure for their employees, creating an environment of uncertanity.
The Islamabad Transport Authority (ITA) was working on legal and
technical loopholes to bring these online services into the mainstream but “the task was resolving a cluster of complexities”, said Imtiaz Janjua, the ITA Secretary.Filling up of legal lacunnas on online app-based services was a herculean task, he added.
A couple of consultative sittings with online and traditional taxi
service representatives could not bear results as taxi drivers stick to their demands and Careem service has challenged the ITA’s checklist pertaining
to four taxes in Islamabad High Court, Imtiaz said.
The court has given a stay order on our recommendations and the
case is sub-judice and he cannot comment on it further, he added.
The ride sharing Careem’s internal rift on employees’ pay structure
which forced them to launch demonstration, against their own administration in front of Islamabad Press Club, was another setback for them.
Aman Butt,President of Careem Employees Association for Islamabad and
Rawalpindi talking to this scribe said a charter of demands to management
was handed over for a justified fares and insured pay structure of the captains,(a term used for its divers).”The company’s helpline must be available 24 hours, even a captain is not on job, ” he added.
The complaints against captains must be transparently investigated for a
fair play and management’s ex-party decisions were against the moral and legal decorum, he said. “Captains must be given a chance to clarify their positions on public complaints,” he added.
The annoyed president of traditional Taxi Union Malik Aftab said they
are going to give these online services (Careem & Uber) a tough time for adopting shortcut and affecting their livelihood. “We have filed
two identical petitions against them and hope the decision will be in our favour,” he remarked.
“Our demands are to change vehicles’ colour, pay the taxes as traditional
taxis pay and install the taxi boards over their automobiles”. He said and added the authorities concerned apparently were looking to be more lenient towards ride-sharing services that forced them to knock the court’s door.
A representative of the Careem Service at ITA office said it was
unfortunate that public-beneficial initiatives are sabotaged by a certain mafia trying to get a lion’s share for nothing. He said his company was “determined to fight for peoples’ benefits be it a court or a street to raise our voice.”
The public appreciation is not enough to stay in the market and these
online app-based services must have to adopt some certain laws of the land
for operations, said Imran Ali, an advocate of the High Court.
The online ride sharing services across the globe are facing operational
issues as Uber’s licence is recently cancelled by London authorities, a setback which could affect their operations in Asian countries like Pakistan as well.