Islamabad-The public appreciation for newly launched online cab services has created chaos among the old and traditional taxi drivers seeing their future lurking in the dark.

The cabbies of twin cities who have recently launched a protest against their modern and vibrant competitors announced to extend it in the coming week to force the relevant authorities to address their concerns.

There are more than 10,000 registered cabs in the twin cities of

Islamabad and Rawalpindi serving public over the years but they lost their market in a short span of time after the online cab services overwhelmingly won public approval.

A traditional taxi drivers association’s representative Munsaf was confident that the issue would be resolved as assured by the concerned authorities in the running week. Otherwise, he said, they would demonstrate in the coming week and observe sit-ins.

The Islamabad Transport Authority (ITA), however, admitted that there were some genuine and legal loopholes to bring these online services into authentic and systematic official network.

The Secretary of the ITC Jawad Muzafar informed APP that after many rounds of consultations with taxi drivers and ridesharing services (Careem & Uber), the ITA had put some recommendations to streamline the affairs.

He said that a checklist to cover legal and technical loopholes to bring online services into the mainstream was shared for consultation with the concerned departments.

Those recommendations, Jawad informed, include fitness certificate to be issued to the private cars working for the online services by Motor Vehicle Examiner (MVE), ITA. These facilities would also be made to ensure route permits to ply, he said. The online cab services would be forced to display customized stickers on their vehicles’ front and back screens.

“We would issue a fares list to the app-based services which they have to follow strictly,” he said and added the passengers’ insurance would also be compulsory for their safety.

Jawad informed that the ITA had also received a proposal from the Director Excise and Taxation Department that online vehicles’ status should be converted from private to commercial.

Though these online taxi services across the globe have created a rift and debate about their legality and impacts on the livelihood of traditional and old cabbies doing the business over the years and their success is phenomenal.

Convenience, comfort, and affordability are matchless facilities offered by these app-based services . Whenever I need to travel I feel like enjoying my own chauffeur driven car, these were the appreciative remarks of an online service user Ijaz Anwar who resides in Pindi and serving in a government organization in Islamabad.

People are using our services because of cheap fares and quality facilities offered by our company,” Awais Khan a driver of an online service Careem remarked.

He said traditional taxi drivers were no more over competitors and trying to create hurdles. They must adopt new techniques to remain in the market, he said.

A yellow cab driver Raja Basharat, however, has a different version and said they were paying heavy taxes over the years and demand other services be dealt with the same kind to create a competitive environment.

He claimed that there is no comparison between licensed taxis and app-based vehicles as four types of taxes are being imposed on taxis. He, however, admitted that they were losing the ground and online services have badly affected their daily earnings.

The ITA even if succeeds to bring app-based service into its clutches but the public concern over the exploitation by the old yellow and black taxis would remain unresolved. They must be allowed to earn their livelihood but some certain rules and ethics be enforced as well, remarked a university’s professor Ramazan.

Pakistan is a swiftly emerging online business market but unfortunately lagging far behind from the western countries regarding legislation and adopting modern necessary techniques to compete with global challenges and facilitate local entrepreneurs.