LAHORE – A large number of rickshaw drivers gathered at the headquarters of PITB (Punjab Information Technology Board) in Arfa Software Technology Park to protest against the growth of their leading competitors-  Uber and Careem – the companies providing private cars via smartphone applications.

The rickshaw owners expressed their outrage at the ride-hailing services ‘stealing’ their businesses. The protest caused congestion in surrounding areas.

The mass rally was headed by Majeed Ghauri, president of the Rickshaw Union and Green Cab. The protesters demanded that Careem and Uber must be forced to pay taxes and brought under the regular clearance mechanism adding that there should be proper stands for rickshaws.

Both Careem and Uber have launched rickshaw services and made promises to provide reasonable prices. At the time of their launch, they enticed customers with generous flat discounts. Now promo codes are offered occasionally. Both companies maintain that their per-kilometre charges are affordable.

People who prefer Careem and Uber say that rickshaw drivers don’t use the meter, break it or overcharge for the fare. Moreover, they sometimes pick more than one customer at the same time to get more money.

Rickshaw drivers, on the other hand, argue that the smartphone app-based services are stealing their businesses and enticing people on false claims.