Firms using Smart Taxi apps ‘are not licensed’

Uber saudi

The official spokesman for the traffic and transportation directorate in Makkah, Omar Bamasfaer, said that foreign taxi companies working through smart applications are illegal and don’t have an official license to practice inside the Kingdom.

Bamasfaer said the ministry doesn’t have any information about these companies, such as Easy Taxi and Uber, or their activities.

He said the ministry coordinates with relevant bodies to monitor these companies to oblige them to obtain the necessary licenses, especially since they are operated by foreign bodies.

Director General of the Saudi Uber Majed Abu Khatir said Uber is a technical company that doesn’t own cars or hire drivers. Instead it cooperates with licensed operators to provide commercial transportation, and its role is limited to enable taxi companies to use the electronic booking system.

He said, “As a technical company we realize that we work in a new environment which might make us somewhat mysterious but we carry on positive dialogue with a group of business owners in this field about our working technique and the suitable place for us. We noticed that the Saudi government has a lot of ambitions and it strives to facilitate the movement of people in cities and welcomes global that provides safe transportation choices for passengers.”

In a related matter, the chairman of the national transportation committee at the Saudi Council of Chambers, Saud Al-Nafii, said the work of these companies is in violation of the system, especially since there are many complaints against them from a number of relevant bodies including the Ministry of Transport.

Al-Nafii said the national land transportation committee filed a report with the relevant bodies to pursue these companies, “and we are still waiting for them to punish violating companies.”

A member of the taxi committee at the Jeddah Chamber, Ahmad Al-Otaibi, said these global companies are an addition to the public transportation sector as long as they are committed to the rules and regulations of the relevant bodies, especially the Ministry of Transport.

He said these are large companies with huge capital and they have branches all over the world.


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