Recently, on 31st January, the provincial government in Punjab banned popular ride-hailing apps Careem and Uber from operating. The move took many by surprise, with many people remarking about the abrupt suddenness of the move. Even the Sindh government followed soon after, raising more questions about the timing and the intent of the move amongst the general public.
Confusion and panic soon followed as many people realized that their transportation options were about to grow a lot more limited and less desirable. The move was widely condemned by Pakistanis all over.
The severe public backlash prompted a rethink by the authorities, with Dr. Umar Saif and subsequently Punjab CM stating later that the ban wasn’t official yet. And that the concerned ride-hailing companies will have to discuss ways to contribute to the national exchequer after conforming with the existing laws.
Many remarked that the strict laws being cited in the case of penalizing Careem and Uber were not applied with the same rigorousness on the numerous taxis and buses and rickshaws that are at least a decade or more old. It should be mentioned here that the authorities wanted Careem and Uber to furnish fitness certificates, route permits and more in order to operate on the roads.
Better sense has prevailed for now and the two ride hailing companies are allowed to operate as before in Pakistan. Careem and Uber have both thanked their supporters here.
Here are their official responses:
Careem is happy to inform all its customers and captains that it’s platform is live and there is not interruption in the service. On behalf of our team, captains and vendors, we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude towards our customers, the print and electronic media and esteemed members of the civil society who spoke in support of ride hailing services.
We are also thankful to the respective Governments of Sindh and Punjab for taking notice of the prevailing situation and ensuring their support in working closely together to develop new enabling regulations to welcome the advent of the Sharing Economy in Pakistan. Several key meetings have been scheduled between the leadership of Careem and senior government officials in the coming days and we are extremely hopeful of making progress and working alongside the Government to help foster entrepreneurship, raise investment for our public transport infrastructure and above all, create millions of jobs.
You may have heard some news recently about Uber’s status in Pakistan. Rest assured, we will continue to meet with regulators and policy makers to help ensure that Pakistanis have access to safe, affordable and efficient transportation options.
In the meantime, we will stand by our driver-partners and riders.
To thank you for the outpouring of support, enjoy 25% off all your rides today.
Use this promo code to get 25% off: THANKYOUPAKISTAN
Promo code valid for up to 10 rides in Lahore and Karachi on both uberGO and uberAUTO, valid till midnight 12am, Friday 3rd February, 2017.
What are your thoughts on the whole ban? Do you support Uber and Careem or are you of the view that the provincial governments acted in accordance with the law? Sound off below.