Administrative court issues second ruling supporting drivers of white taxis this month
Proof of violations in pricing new and old cars
On Tuesday 21 April, the Administrative Court issued a ruling in the ECESR case (number 27071 of the judicial year 68) for the drivers of white taxis concerning pricing and replacing white taxis.
The case filed by taxi drivers to reevaluate the vehicles the drivers receive instead of their old vehicles. The court ordered to appoint a Ministry of Justice expert office from the north of Cairo to specify the value of state subsidies to the producers and drivers of taxis as part of the national project to replace white taxis. The subsidies are provided in the form of of tax and customs exemptions and any other benefits the state provides for the brands handed to consumers as per the protocol signed on 12 May 2010 or any other agreements between the administrative authorities and the producers and drivers.
The court also appointed the experts to specify whether the vehicles sold to consumers were discounted to reflect the state subsidies and benefits provided or granted, and the advertising contracts for the vehicles compared to vehicles not enjoying such benefits. Experts will also identify whether the subsidies benefited the producers and sellers or the buyers, and explain the grounds for selecting the vehicle producers and sellers participating in the project in light of comments submitted by the committee convening as per the Minister of Justice decision number 9257 of 2011. Other points the experts will clarify include whether the companies were exclusively selected to participate in the project, the effect of such decision on vehicle prices, the rules of evaluating old vehicles, and the economic value of scrapping these vehicles.
The court also asked the experts to decide whether the process was financially or procedurally unjust for vehicle owners, and specifically whether the complainants fully benefited from state subsidies and benefits when they bought new vehicles and the extent of such benefit. The evaluation should specify the real price of new vehicles as sold to consumers in the Egyptian market, the monetary value of the state benefits and subsidies to project participants, and the effects of such price including reevaluating new vehicles.
Drivers of white taxis faced troubles because of price manipulations in old or new cars, benefiting vehicle assembly factories and lending banks. The ruling is a new win for taxi drivers because the grounds practically open investigation in the issue of white taxis as a whole.
In an ECESR press conference, the drivers explained the details of the cases and other issues they are hoping to resolve inside the State Council. “The Ministry of Finance announced they are supporting each taxi driver with 70,000 pounds, while documents prove the price per vehicle is 60,000. If the Ministry is right, this means we received the vehicles free. Obviously, this is not at all what happened,” said Alaa Mohamed, a driver of a white taxi.
The ruling is the second for the drivers of white taxis this month. Two weeks ago, a court issued another ruling in the white taxi registration case. The ruling obliged the Ministry of Interior to refrain from demanding a letter proving the drivers paid outstanding bank installments in order to renew their car registrations. The Ministry decision pushed the drivers into a vicious circle: they were not able to renew registrations without paying installment and were not able to pay without working on the vehicles with expired registrations.