Economy, Sci & Tech

Traffic Police Fire Latest Salvo in Ride-Hailing Row

Traffic Police Fire Latest Salvo in Ride-Hailing RowTraffic Police Fire Latest Salvo in Ride-Hailing Row

Traffic police have sent a warning to ride hailing companies operating in Iran in what could be the latest push attempt to shut down the two biggest operators of the new and seemingly popular taxi service. 

In the announcement from one of the authorities monitoring and policing the roads, Hossein Mehri, the commander in charge of roads, said that it will fine drivers 300,000 rials ($9.2) for not being officially licensed as taxis, according to Techrasa citing local Persian language on February 16. 

The Persian-language report quoted the senior police officer as saying that  “drivers of privately-owned cars cannot operate as taxis,” and added that those who fail to comply would be fined.

In justifying the penalty measure Mehri cited an old regulation (almost never upheld) banning private car owners who are unlicensed as either private cab drivers or official green/yellow taxis from operating a public service. 

“We will hold talks with the Ministry of the Interior to discuss the issue as part of their High Traffic Coordination Committee.”  

The old law may be easier to implement with Snapp and Tap30 drivers as they are required to use an official stickers on the rear window to prove that they are a cabbie. 

This latest comment on the growth of ride-hailing apps may not have teeth because as per law the police do not have the authority to shut down the service. 

 IT Union and Chamber Dispute

The latest warning to the fast emerging ride-hailing industry comes after the head of Iran’s IT Union said recently the organization was trying to dismantle  Tap30 and Snapp, the two top ride-hailing companies. 

“The executive order for this issue has been submitted in a letter to the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture,” Mehdi Mirmehdi was quoted by local telecoms website as saying. 

According to the official, the reason for the decision was that “the two startups have not obtained the permits [to operate as taxi services].”

In a statement later the TCCIMA denied that it was part of a group to shut down the apps. 

It said it had not received any notification to shut down Snapp and TAP30. 

“We are not opposed to such activities… In fact, we support the growth of entrepreneurship, startups and knowledge-based firms.” 

Rejecting Mirmehdi’s claims, the CEOs of both companies said all the legal steps had been taken but the permits had not been issued.  

Milad Monshipour CEO of TAP30 said despite the fact that the guild initially agreed to issue a permit, no official permission had been given. 

It is almost three months since TAP30 first filed a request to register as an Internet-based business, Monshipour told the Financial Tribune on phone.  

Despite the confusion and commotion the company’s credibility and services have not been undermined, he said adding that “the issue will be resolved soon.”

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