Transportation Using Information Technology’s Responsibilities and Liabilities

user Yasmin Yasser calender 26 Jun 2024 views 205 Views
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The ubiquity of technology in modern life has significantly impacted various aspects of our daily routines, including transportation. The emergence of smart transportation applications has aimed to provide convenient and efficient mobility solutions, catering to the needs of users. These applications have gained popularity in Egypt by offering an alternative to traditional means of transportation, with the promise of enhanced supervision and safety measures.

However, the quality of the service provided by these companies has come under scrutiny, as a growing number of complaints have surfaced regarding their operations. Tragically, these concerns have escalated, with the occurrence of two heinous incidents involving the drivers of these transportation applications. The first incident resulted in the tragic loss of a young woman’s life, while the second saw another victim narrowly escaping a horrific attempted rape and murder. These events have raised profound questions about the responsibilities and liabilities within the industry.

A meeting was held between the Egyptian House of Representatives’ Communications and Information Technology Committee and the representatives of one of the biggest companies in the field of smart transportation (the drivers of which were involved in the aforementioned incidents), to discuss the issue of smart transportation safety in Egypt in order to ensure the non-repentance of those violations and to ensure the improvement of their services.

According to the Egyptian law regulating land transportation services for passengers using information technology (Law No. 87 of 2018) and its Executive Regulation (Decree No. 2180 of 2019), the main responsibilities and liabilities of transportation service providers using information technology in Egypt are:

Responsibilities:

  1. Obtaining a license from the Ministry of Transportation to operate a digital transportation platform. A delay fee is due from licensed companies for the unpaid license dues starting from the next day from the due date. The delay fee is calculated on the basis of the interest rate announced by the Central Bank;
  2. The company is committed to selecting drivers ethically and professionally;
  3. The company is responsible for conducting a random sample of drivers every month, with a percentage of not less than 0.5%, and the Ministry of Transport may request a random sample of drivers from the medical commission or any of the medical centers approved by the Ministry of Interior. The company is committed to immediately terminating the contract with the driver if positive results are found in any of the alcohol or drug tests;
  4. The company is committed to providing a certificate stating that the driver has been trained and qualified with his knowledge to deal with its electronic application;
  5. Companies are committed to carrying out the necessary inspection and examination of the vehicle before starting to include it in service to ensure the level of service;
  6. The vehicle must be in good technical condition, and must be air-conditioned. Vehicles windows with tinted or blinds of which are opaque paper, or any blind glass have been installed in violation of the provisions of the Traffic Law are not accepted, and the vehicle must be in an appropriate condition to provide a good level of service. The Ministry of Transport sets controls for monitoring and inspecting the quality of service for the driver, the vehicle, and the service provided;
  7. Licensed companies must commit to gradually reducing the year of manufacture for all cars that provide service to five years, at a maximum, by the end of 2024, in accordance with a policy presented by the company within three months from the date of obtaining the license and approved by the Ministry of Transport;
  8. The company licensed to operate shall provide the required data to the Ministry of Transport, necessary for planning and organizing transportation, determining the volume of operations, measuring service quality, and updated on a regular basis in accordance with the standards of the transportation industry, including:
  • Daily journey data for each vehicle, including route lengths, average speeds, and times.
  • Weekly distribution map of journeys.
  • The company shall preserve its records for at least six months and provide them to the Ministry upon request.
  • The company shall clearly announce the different service prices (tariffs) to users through its website and electronic platform, including a comprehensive list of information on tariffs, how they are calculated, and costs in case of cancellation.
  • The company shall ensure that the driver’s data is visible to users at the time of service request, matching the driver who is present in the vehicle at the time of service delivery.
  • It is prohibited for the company to operate any type of vehicle without meeting the conditions and requirements set by the Ministry of Transport.
  • The driver shall undergo retraining if there are more than three complaints against him within a month. In case of repetition, measures will be taken to cancel the driver’s operating license.
  • The company shall make electronic payment options available through its mobile applications, in collaboration with licensed Egyptian banks that provide such services, allowing citizens to pay for transportation services using digital payment methods.
  • Companies licensed to operate shall provide the Ministry of Transport with all reports and data required for quality assessment and service evaluation, as per the law.
  • It is prohibited for companies licensed to operate and vehicle operators subject to the provisions of Law No. 87 of 2018 on Regulating Land Transportation Services for Passengers to use technology to overload passengers or gather in any place or load passengers from taxi stands.
  1. Providing 24/7 customer support and a complaint mechanism for passengers. As the service provider is responsible for addressing passenger complaints and resolving disputes in a timely manner.
  2. Complying with the approved fare structure and not exceeding the maximum allowed fares.
  3. Sharing relevant data and information with the regulatory authorities upon request.
  4. Service providers must implement robust data protection measures to safeguard the personal information of their customers, including their identities, locations, and transportation records. They are required to obtain explicit consent from users before collecting, processing, or sharing their personal data. Furthermore, the service Providers must ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the data they handle.
  5. Maintaining appropriate insurance coverage for passengers and third parties.

Liabilities:

  1. The company shall be fully liable for any accidents, injuries, or damages that occur during the transportation process, unless they can prove that the incident was caused by the user or a third party. The company must also have adequate insurance coverage to compensate users for any losses or damages they incur, ensuring that users receive fair and timely compensation in the event of an accident or incident.
  2. Service providers are not only responsible for protecting user data, but are also liable for any data breaches or unauthorized access, use, or disclosure of user information under their control. Furthermore, they may face significant fines and legal consequences for failing to protect user data or obtaining proper consent for its processing, which can have severe consequences for their reputation and bottom line.
  3. Service providers are liable for any unfair, deceptive, or misleading practices, such as false advertising, hidden fees, or misrepresentation of their services, but users also have the right to take legal action. Specifically, users have the right to seek compensation or dispute any such practices through the designated legal channels, providing a means to hold service providers accountable for their actions and protect their interests.
  4. Service providers that fail to comply with the applicable laws and regulations governing the transportation sector may face severe legal consequences. Specifically, they may face legal penalties, including fines or suspension of their operating licenses, for non-compliance. Furthermore, repeated or serious violations can lead to the revocation of their operating licenses and the termination of their services, resulting in a complete disruption to their business operations.

The Egyptian legal framework established by Law No. 87 of 2018 and its Executive Regulation No. 2180 of 2019 aims to strike a balance between the benefits of information technology in the transportation sector and the protection of user rights and public safety. Despite the numerous benefits of smart transportation companies, the quality of their service has recently declined. A major concern is the lack of safety measures in place to protect users, as well as the inadequate supervision of drivers, which raises serious concerns about their safety and well-being. In order for those companies to solve the issues mentioned and satisfy their users they should understand the responsibilities and liabilities of transportation service providers, both providers and users can navigate the legal landscape and ensure the safe, reliable, and transparent utilization of technology-enabled transportation services in Egypt.