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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Careem resumes ride-hailing services in Oman with local partner

Dubai firm becomes the first such company to offer its services across the GCC 

On Monday, Careem because the first ride-hailing company to have operations in all six GCC countries. Reuters
On Monday, Careem because the first ride-hailing company to have operations in all six GCC countries. Reuters

Careem, the Dubai-based ride-hailing firm, resumed its services in Muscat, Oman after agreeing to partner with a local government-owned taxi company, becoming the first such entity to offer its services in all six GCC countries.

Careem launched in Oman in May 2017 and operated only briefly before being shut down by the government, which requested it work with local licensed taxis.

On Monday, Careem said it had partnered with Marhaba Taxi to register Marhaba's drivers to Careem's ride-hailing app.

“Oman is a strategically important country for us as it completes our footprint across the GCC. We are now the only ride hailing operator to offer a service across all six GCC countries," said Khaled Nuseibeh, general manager of Careem, GCC. "With Marhaba Taxis on our platform, we can bring all the benefits of ride hailing to customers in Muscat at affordable and transparent prices.”

Trips booked through the app would be charged the same fare as regular taxis, Careem said, with the app handling driver-rider matches, customer service and payments.

Careem already has a similar partnership with government-owned taxi service RTA in Dubai, with taxi drivers able to opt into using the app and price parity between the two services. It is the only other Careem-government partnership in the GCC, according to a company spokesperson. Similarly, Careem resumed services in Ramallah, Palestine in March after working with the transport ministry and bringing fare pricing in line with metered taxis.

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In September, San Francisco’s Uber was said to be looking at an acquisition of Careem in a deal that may be worth $1.5 billion to $2bn, The National reported at the time. The decision signaled to market observers that the company would not consider an exit of the region and that it considered its presence to be large enough to merit an acquisition - rather than a merger - of Careem.

Careem, which was founded six years ago, serves 14 million registered users in more than 100 cities across countries that range from Pakistan to Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco.