Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) has asked Uber, a smart phone-based on-demand transport service, not to run its service by using private vehicles for commercial purposes.
The directive came at a meeting between BRTA Chairman Nazrul Islam and Uber officials at his office in the capital yesterday.
“We have no objection against the service. But it must come under a legal framework,” Nazrul told The Daily Star last night.
As per BRTA rules, the vehicles, which are registered as private cars, cannot be used for commercial purposes, he said.
In response, Uber officials said they would place a detailed action plan of their service within three weeks.
“Further decisions will be taken after scrutinising their proposals,” the BRTA chairman added.
Uber has been becoming popular among the Dhaka's commuters after its official launching on November 22. It is an online platform that connects people to facilitate transportation through a mobile application.
Two days after the introduction of the service, the BRTA declared Uber illegal, saying the company did not take permission from the government for running the service in the country.
Terming Uber operation a punishable offense, the BRTA in a newspaper advertisement also warned of taking legal action against the operators.
However, welcoming the service, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on November 26 said Uber needs to follow legal framework and systematic procedures to run the service.
The biggest advantage of Uber is it does not own any cars. It acts like a middleman between customers and cab drivers. It has made the task of booking a cab easier. Any car owner can become drivers after getting registered with Uber with valid documents, national identity card and a photograph, said sources at Uber.
The service of the US-based firm can come as a relief for many in Dhaka where commuters suffer every day due to lack of transport. And Uber came when the existing taxi services failed to gain popularity due to unavailability and high fare.
On the other hand, Uber cars will be available and cheaper than the existing usual taxis, said a source at Uber.