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Uber Egypt Requests Access to Drivers’ Criminal Records Following Violence Against Women

May 22, 2024
Image Credit: freestock.org/Pexels

Uber’s Head of Public Policy and Government Relations for Uber in North Africa and the Middle East, Ahmed Aly, met with members of the Egyptian Parliament on 22 May to appeal for access by Uber Egypt to drivers’ criminal records.

Aly’s request, which occurred during a hearing with the parliament’s Communications and Information Technology Committee, comes following a recent streak of violence against women by Uber drivers – sparking nationwide controversy over the safety of ride-hailing apps in Egypt.

The session also included officials from the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, Uber, and the Ministry of Transport, according to state media Ahram Online, who reported on the event.

“Aly stated that the committee had recommended in March that the company check the criminal records of their drivers. However, Uber has been unable to implement the recommendation due to the lack of access to an official database to verify the drivers’ information,” the report reads.

The Uber representative also highlighted the company’s immediate on-ground efforts on 25 February after Uber user Habiba El-Shamaa jumped from a moving vehicle out of fear of being kidnapped – falling head first on the pavement.

Aly went on to state that Uber provided extensive support to the victim’s family and covered treatment costs, while also cooperating with the relevant authorities investigating the matter.

Investigations revealed that the driver in question was under the influence of drugs, had a criminal record, and was previously suspended by Uber due to sexual harassment complaints. He returned to work by registering once more with a fake ID.

El-Shamaa, who fell into a coma, passed away at the age of 24 weeks after from a brain haemorrhage sustained by the fall, sparking a social media outcry over the lack of safety measures imposed by Uber and similar ride-hailing applications.

A few months after the incident, another Egyptian Uber driver was arrested on 13 May after sexually assaulting and attempting to kidnap a female passenger. The case received significant media attention and is currently under investigation by the country’s public prosecution.

“The company representative says he’s sorry for what happened to Habiba El-Shamaa. Sorry for what? A life was lost. Since the committee met with you last March until now, there has been no action,” member of parliament Mai Mazen stated during the hearing, calling for the application to be shut down in Egypt if no improvements are made.


After the hearing, the committee put forth several key recommendations aimed at bolstering the safety of ride-hailing services.

First, the committee suggested reclassifying these companies as service providers rather than digital technology firms, thereby holding them accountable for passenger safety.

Second, they called for the strict enforcement of existing laws and regulations governing ride-hailing services.

Third, they recommended the implementation of safety measures such as installing cameras and audio recording devices in vehicles.

Lastly, the committee advised that all ride-hailing companies establish a customer service centre to log complaints systematically. These records should be electronically accessible to the Ministry of Transport upon request for monitoring purposes.

Uber and Careem, a subsidiary of Uber, are the two biggest companies operating in Egypt with over 5 million users  – placing the country among Uber’s top 15 markets globally as per the last recorded study, which dates back to 2021.

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