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Transport ministry cracks down on unlicensed ride-hailing apps, drivers

By Maram Kayed - Feb 09,2020 - Last updated at Feb 09,2020

AMMAN — New measures will be taken by the Transport Ministry to counter unlicensed ride-hailing applications, Minister of Transport Khaled Saif confirmed on Sunday.

He noted, however, that shutting down the applications’ operations is becoming “increasingly difficult”.

The minister said in a press statement that the new measures include activating the role of the Pubic Security Department and the Traffic Police in spotting and stopping any vehicle employed by unlicensed applications.

On a digital front, the ministry is also tackling the issue by monitoring and blocking unlicensed applications’ online presence, according to Saif.

The Land Transport Authority’s supervisory committee has been tasked with controlling the spread of such applications, which Saif said only amount to one illegal and unlicensed application at the moment.

The committee has begun an information campaign appealing to all drivers working with an unlicensed company to familiarise themselves with the legal consequences of operating in a “wrongful and unlawful manner”.

Any driver who works for unlicensed companies or a single individual violator will “expose themselves to legal liability, which will amount to their transfer to the judiciary and the seizure of their vehicles”, the minister stated.

He noted that the ministry’s “major target” at the moment is Queen Car, a ride-hailing app that operates without a licence and is employing an undetermined number of drivers.

“There is difficulty in blocking it and determining its [Queen Car’s] location due to the movement of its digital presence from one server to another and the movement of its physical headquarters from one place to another,” the minister said.

Queen Car's “success” in the market is due to its “appealing 10 per cent deduction from the driver, which is a competitive rate compared to other licensed companies’ rates. Drivers think that the application’s benefits outweigh its legal risks”, the minister was quoted in the statement as saying.

“The open and fast-paced technological world is difficult to control, so the best solution is activating the supervisory committee's role and strengthening judicial control," he concluded.

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