The Sindh government has drafted a bill to bring ride-hailing services such as Uber and Careem under the ambit of law, according to a summary sent to Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.
The summary, drafted by the Transport and Mass Transit Department, notes that Careem has approached it for issuance of route permits and fitness certificate of 500 vehicles.
The summary also notes that the Transport and Mass Transit Department has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Uber regarding the usage of its digital lead generation services.
Furthermore, the summary observes that while the two companies have been operating in Sindh as "online public passenger service", the Motor Vehicles Rules, 1969 does not have any provision for such a service.
As a result, a bill has been drafted and sent to the Sindh chief minister as well as the law department for approval, so it could then be forwarded to the cabinet and the provincial assembly for legislation.
According to a notification issued by the transport and mass transit department, a draft law has been prepared under which these taxi services shall be considered commercial and will be liable to pay the Sindh government taxes.
According to Minister for Transport and Mass Transit Awais Qadir Shah, online taxi services, after the proposed bill is formally legislated upon, will have to register their vehicles and follow the laws outlined by the transport department.
"Non-commercial vehicles will no longer be able to function as taxis," said Shah, adding that route permits will have to be obtained by the private online taxi services for their vehicles.
Furthermore, the minister said that ride-hailing companies will also have to obtain insurance for their passengers and their belongings.
"With new legislation, quality of services provided by these companies will also improve," he said.