FILE PHOTO – A man walks near a banner of ride-sharing app Uber during a news conference in Cairo, Egypt, December 4, 2018. REUTERS/Lena Masri
CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s top administrative court on Saturday lifted a ban on operations by ride-hailing companies Uber and Careem, which have faced fierce opposition from traditional taxi drivers, a judicial source and lawyer said.
A lower administrative court withdrew the permits of U.S.-based Uber and its main rival, Dubai-based Careem, in March 2018 after 42 taxi drivers filed suit, arguing the apps were illegally using private cars as taxis and were registered as a call center and an internet company, respectively.
In April last year, however, the Cairo Court of Urgent Matters said the ruling should be suspended and the two firms should be allowed to continue operating until a final decision was made by the Highest Administrative Court, which accepted the companies’ appeal on Saturday.
Uber has faced repeated regulatory and legal setbacks around the world due to opposition from traditional taxi services. It has been forced to quit several countries, including Denmark and Hungary.
The company has said Egypt is its largest market in the Middle East, with 157,000 drivers in 2017 and four million users since its launch there in 2014.
Last week, Uber reached an agreement with the Egyptian Tax Authority to pay value-added tax (VAT), which Careem said it had been paying since March 2018.
Reporting by Haitham Ahmed; Writing by Yousef Saba; Editing by Helen Popper