Jordan urges legislation to address unlicensed ride-hailing apps

(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — On Sunday, Deputy Ghazi Al-Badawi, chairman of the Public Services and Transportation Committee, underscored the urgency of enacting legislation to address the legal void surrounding unlicensed smart applications. اضافة اعلان

Al-Mamlaka TV reported his remarks, which emerged during the committee's discussion on the contentious issue of unlicensed smart applications, which have stirred debate due to their impact on yellow taxi owners.

Badawi raised pertinent questions and observations during the meeting, seeking potential solutions to regulate the proliferation of unlicensed smart applications. He questioned the purported role of the Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship in regulating public transportation, the prevalence of vehicles operating under licensed applications, and their effectiveness in curbing unlicensed counterparts.

In response, Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship, Ahmed Hanandeh, acknowledged the price disparity between licensed and unlicensed applications, attributing it to supply and demand dynamics within the sector. Hanandeh proposed penalties, including one-week imprisonment, for drivers operating unlicensed applications, advocating for legislation to hold them accountable. He expressed dissatisfaction with past measures, deeming them ineffective in curbing the issue.

Hanandeh emphasized the necessity of conducting a comprehensive study to regulate the transportation sector, safeguarding the interests of workers within it. He suggested augmenting the number of licensed vehicles to meet the sector's demands adequately, which he estimated to be double the current count of 13,000 vehicles operating under applications and 17,000 licensed taxis.

Minister of Transport, Wesam Al-Tahtamouni, concurred that unlicensed smart applications pose a significant challenge to the Land Transport Regulatory Commission (LTRC). He highlighted the social risks associated with insufficient information about unlicensed drivers and reported efforts to block unauthorized applications.

Abdul Rahim Al-Wreikat, Director of the LTRC, disclosed that only four companies possess licenses to operate smart applications in Jordan. Wreikat emphasized the adverse impact of unlicensed applications on the transportation ecosystem and outlined collaborative efforts to enhance control over financial transactions associated with them.

Bassam Al-Sarhan, CEO of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC), reported intensive efforts to block unlicensed applications, including one using artificial intelligence. Sarhan outlined successful endeavors to block numerous applications and ongoing efforts to address remaining challenges. He stressed the importance of raising public awareness regarding the risks associated with unlicensed applications.

The authorities also highlighted concerns regarding the exploitation of youth through schemes promoting vehicle ownership without initial payments, aligning with government directives to tackle unemployment. They emphasized the need for future studies to mitigate potential pitfalls and ensure comprehensive solutions.

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