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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 October 2018

Abu Dhabi limousine drivers using Careem app worried despite restart of services

Car hire companies such as Uber and Careem require to have a minimum price, and employ only licensed vehicles and drivers from limousine operators.
Careem is expected to gradually ramp up its fleet to meet demand after restarting services on Wednesday. Victor Besa for The National
Careem is expected to gradually ramp up its fleet to meet demand after restarting services on Wednesday. Victor Besa for The National

Limousine drivers in Abu Dhabi are a still worried lot.

The drivers are afraid they might be stopped if they use the car-hailing applications even as Careem restarted services on Wednesday morning.

Some of the drivers using the Careem app said the application was still not working in Abu Dhabi, and that they had not received any ride request through the app until late in the afternoon.

They were also worried over the reported arrests, but said they did not know of anyone personally who had been stopped or detained.

“If the company says I should work, then it is the company’s responsibility [for my safety],” said one of the drivers, requesting anonymity.

He last used the Careem app last Thursday, and was out for work on Wednesday for the limo company that did not come through the application.

Another driver, who also did not want to be named, said he made around Dh6,000 to Dh7,000 month if he worked for Careem for a full month, is upset for losing out on the income.

“I will try to find something else,” he said. His personal car is registered with a limo company in Abu Dhabi.

He last used the Careem app on Friday and has not used the Uber app in the last two months.

He said that he used to make between Dh1,000 and Dh1,400 on weekends on Uber rides before the car hire company cut its prices earlier this year.

“Careem is operating on a skeleton basis until we are able to regain most of our fleet,” said a statement from Christian Eid, the vice president of marketing at Careem, Wednesday morning. “We decided to re-open our service primarily to support our Captains who rely on us to get business.”

Careem is expected to gradually ramp up its fleet to meet demand.

“We are glad to be back in Abu Dhabi and are still working closely with the authorities to secure our mission to provide a reliable platform for Careem Captains,” Mr Eid said.

It said Tuesday night that the Abu Dhabi authorities have assured them of their legal standing.

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Services suspension

Why Uber and Careem have suspended operations in Abu Dhabi – video

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“Recent events have created a climate of uncertainty and fear for our limousine partners,” it said Tuesday night. “Due to these circumstances it has been challenging to get Captains back online and we are working hard to help them get back on the roads.”

An operations manager at an Abu Dhabi-based limousine company said that Uber and Careem had agreed on Tuesday to revise their minimum tariff to Dh40 per journey, to be in line with those specified by TransAD for limousines.

The operations manager said that drivers arrested at the weekend remain in custody.

An Uber statement reiterated services remain suspended in Abu Dhabi.

“While no driver partners using the Uber platform were stopped, we will not resume services until we have further clarity on the matter and reassurance that partners will not be at risk and riders will not be inconvenienced while taking a trip,” the company said.

There has been no conversation about prices, it added.

Car hire companies such as Uber and Careem require to have a minimum price, and employ only licensed vehicles and drivers from limousine operators.

Dubai-based Careem, which launched in July 2012, halted services along with Uber on Saturday. It started operations in Abu Dhabi in March 2013.

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