The issue of regulating and legalizing ride-sharing services in Egypt was raised in the last couple of months when an Egyptian court ordered the suspension of such services in March after a group of taxi drivers claimed that they were illegally using private cars as taxis.
Egypt's parliament passed a law early this week regulating ride-sharing apps Uber and Careem, thus ending the lawsuit that could shut them down, imposing however new fees and data sharing requirements.
U.S.-based ride-sharing company has been facing legal setbacks and was forced to quit several countries such as Denmark and Hungary amid opposition from tradition taxi services. However, it couldn't bear having to quit Egypt which it claims is its largest market in the Middle East, with 157,000 drivers in 2017 and 4 million users since its launch there in 2014.
According to the new law, ride-sharing companies have to pay a fee of 30 million Egyptian pounds, equivalent to USD1.71 million to obtain five-year renewable licenses, in addition to paying annual fees to obtain special licenses to work with the company.
Following the announcement of the new law, Uber said in a statement: "This is a major step forward for the ride-sharing industry as Egypt becomes one of the first countries in the Middle East to pass progressive regulations."
"We will continue working with the prime minister and the cabinet in the coming months as the law is finalized, and look forward to continuing to serve the millions of Egyptian riders and drivers that rely on Uber", the company added.
According to Reuters, companies are also required to retain users' data for 180 days and share it with authorities "on request" and "according to the law"; a point that faced opposition when an earlier draft of the bill was presented to parliament. The new law is now subject to ratification by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi before entering into force.