Dubai keeps taxi phone lines open until next year
All bookings will be made through the Careem app from January 15, once the call centre is closed
Dubai’s taxi call centre will remain open for another month before it is permanently replaced with an app booking system.
The emirate’s Roads and Transport Authority announced the 30-day extension of the call service on Wednesday after previously saying the hotline would be closed from December 7.
The extension means residents will still be able to phone for a taxi until January 15, after which all bookings must exclusively be made through the new Hala e-hailing service on the Careem app.
Ahmed Bahrozyan, chief executive of RTA, said the extension was announced to allow people time to become accustomed to the changes and prepare for the new system.
He said around two million bookings have been made through the Hala service since it launched in August.
The service, introduced as part of a greater drive to develop Dubai into a smart city, aims to facilitate a smoother experience for commuters, Mr Bahrozyan said.
“RTA and Hala teams are working to ensure the delivery of the service to all Dubai residents,” he said.
“Both teams are keen to ensure a smooth migration of call centre users to the new digital platform on the Careem app.”
He accepted not everyone would be keen on the idea of not being able to just pick up the phone and call a taxi, particularly older generations.
“Some clients, especially the elderly, still have limited access to smart services and will encounter challenges to use the app,” he said.
“The Hala team is working on a new landline to meet the needs of this category.”
He said details of the fixed line would be revealed to the “targeted segment” at a later date.
Updated: December 4, 2019 06:44 PM