Careem ‘Ride Now’ service restored in Abu Dhabi
Careem, the limousine taxi app, on Thursday said that its “Ride Now” booking service that allows its customers to book its taxis immediately is available again in Abu Dhabi.
The service had been curtailed since last August, Careem and its rival Uber both shut down their operations in the capital when a number of their drivers were taken into police custody for transgressing strict private limousine pricing regulations.
Careem resumed services a few days later but only for “Book Later” clients, which meant the service could be used only for journeys booked two hours in advance, with a minimum charge of Dh40.
The Centre for Regulation of Transport by Hire Cars (TransAD) said in September that the new regulations would be issued soon. However, on Thursday a spokesperson for TransAD told The National the regulations had still not been published and could not say when that would happen.
Careem said that its new service will be called Careem Limo and is fully in line with the government’s regulations, with a minimum fare of Dh40.
“We have launched Careem limo in line with TransAD regulations for the hire of private cars,” said Bassel Al Nahlaoui, vice president of business development and government relations at Careem. “We will only be working with licensed private hire car [limo] companies and standard pricing will be at the minimum fare levels set out according to these regulations. The head of TransAD is fully aware of Careem resuming its services in line with the new regulations.”
Uber is yet to resume its services in the capital. A spokesperson for Uber was not available for comment.
Careem launched four years ago and has expanded rapidly in the UAE and beyond, operating in more than 50 cities in 11 countries, including Morocco and Pakistan.
In December it announced an investment of US $350 million.
“There is a huge market opportunity for us – ride-hailing apps are at 1 per cent market penetration in the region currently,” said Mr Al Nahlaoui. “Our business strategy is firmly committed to capturing the other 99 per cent of people across the region.”
He added that Careem is targeting profitability within the next two years.
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Updated: February 9, 2017 04:00 AM