Turkey’s taxi drivers protest Careem after Uber acquisition
Burak Taşçı – ISTANBUL
Turkey’s taxi drivers have stopped using Careem, the biggest ride-hailing app in the Middle East, following Uber’s decision to acquire the service, with which the drivers have been in feud for months.
The popular U.S.-based ride-sharing service Uber will acquire Careem for $3.1 billion, expanding its influence over Middle Eastern markets.
Careem’s agreement with Uber has received a storm of reaction by Turkey’s taxi drivers, even though they bore the palm against the company in the country.
“We are through with Careem. There are about 1,500 Istanbul taxis using Careem. This move of Uber is aimed at entering Middle East markets. Because Careem is dominant in the Middle East, they have bought it,” Hüseyin Duman, the head of Turkey’s United Taxi Drivers Association, told daily Hürriyet.
Duman also stressed many taxi drivers from Middle Eastern countries protest the sale, including drivers from Morocco and Palestine.
“There are no criteria for this job, anyone with a driving license can become a taxi driver. The commercial driver’s license is given by submitting certain documents and paying a fee of 100 Turkish Liras [about $19] to municipalities,” he said.
“They are only trained for one day. Candidates should at least undergo training for six months. This occupation should become a profession,” he added.
Duman further elaborated that courses on advanced driving techniques, first aid, foreign languages, and anger management should also be given to candidates.
“In the U.K., you need to be trained for at least one year to become a taxi driver,” he said.
Duman also stressed that Uber is “competing unfairly.”
Tensions rose between yellow taxi drivers and Uber drivers in Turkey, leading to violence cases at some point, last year.
But with a regulation the Turkish government introduced on May 2018, that prevented illegal passenger transportation, taxi drivers heaved a sigh of relief, thinking that it was the “end of Uber.”