The Civil Aviation Authority may have removed signboards prohibiting the entry of Uber and Careem vehicles to Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport, but that doesn’t mean the ride-hailing services can enter the airport.
In December, the Sindh government barred these online taxis from entering the airport on legal grounds. However, it took the CAA three months to implement the order, after the traffic DIG asked the airport authorities to follow their instructions. In March, the CAA placed signboards at the entrance to the airport, prohibiting the online ride-hailing service cabs from entering the premises and providing pick and drop services because these companies are not registered with the Sindh government.
The boards, however, were removed earlier this week as it was hard to identify whether a car belonged to one of these taxi services. The removal of these signboards may imply the ban is lifted, but that is not the case, confirmed CAA Joint Director Public Relations Mujtaba Baig. He said the companies are not complying with the law and they need to get legal permission from the transport authorities before they will be allowed to operate at the airport.
“Official notices have been sent to both companies,” he added.
There is still no update in either app, as you can still book a ride to the airport using Uber and Careem. This means that people could still travel to the airport in an Uber or Careem as long as the CAA doesn’t find out.
“We are still negotiating and trying to find the best possible solution. No message has been sent to our captains regarding this,” said Careem’s Head of Communication Madiha Javed Qureshi.
This is not the first time these services faced restrictions from the government. Last October, the Sindh Transport Authority announced it would suspend online taxi services following an incident in which a woman jumped out of a moving car and later accused the driver of harassment. Who was at fault remained a mystery.
Referring to the incident, the transport minister had said at the time that the companies should share vehicle registration information and drivers’ data with the government so they can verify if their documents are complete and the drivers have no criminal records. This could help in investigating such cases in the future.
However, the services were not banned in the province.