Court reverses ban on ride-hailing companies in Egypt

The decision overturns a ruling which suspended ride-hailing services after taxi drivers filed unfair competition complaints.
(160227) — GIZA, Feb. 27, 2016(Xinhua) — Egyptian taxi drivers protest in front of the Egyptian Council of State against popular taxi service operators Uber and Careem in Giza governorate, Egypt, Feb. 27, 2016. Taxi drivers called on authorities to shut down the operators that have badly damaged their business since they appeared in Egypt months ago. (Xinhua/Ahmad Gomaa)(azp)

A top Egyptian court on Saturday reversed a ban on ride-hailing companies including Uber and Careem, a judicial source said. 

The decision by the Supreme Administrative Court in Cairo overturns a lower court’s ruling last March, which suspended ride-hailing services after taxi drivers filed unfair competition complaints.

US-based Uber and its Middle East competitor Careem filed appeals against their suspension and secured a ruling in April allowing them to operate, pending a verdict by a higher court. 

Saturday’s decision is final and cannot be appealed. 

Though both companies have been embroiled in proceedings to legalise their operations in Egypt over the past year, their services however were never suspended.

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In June, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified a law regulating their work.

Many Egyptians have switched to use Uber and Careem, citing inappropriate behaviour and the refusal to use meters by some taxi drivers.

With a population of 100 million, Egypt is considered to be one of the largest markets for Uber and Careem.

Uber says it has had four million customers in Egypt since launching there in 2014, and plans to invest around $100 million in the country over the next five years.

In December, Careem launched a bus service in Cairo to help with mobility around the traffic-choked city which is home to more than 20 million.

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