The massive ride-catching company Uber and Careem, its partner in the United Arab Emirates, have put an end to their cheapest ride choices in Dubai after a decision made by the transport authority in the emirate.
The Road and Transport Authority (RTA) decided to halt the Uber X service as well as the Careem Go service from 1stSeptember 2019, the firms revealed in different statements that were both issued on Sunday – though the reason for the RTA’s decision was not revealed.
An RTA spokesman said that both services were first created as pilot schemes for customers looking for e-hailing services at a low price.
They were initially intended to be short-term in nature in order to evaluate and compare the city’s e-hailing services and to check on how feasible such services and associated technology were in the current market.
A partnership between Careem and the RTA was formed last week in order to allow more than 50% of the taxi fleet in the authority available to be booked via its app as of the middle of this month.
All of the 10,000 RTA taxis are to be listed on the app by Careem by early 2020.
Hala, a joint venture company, was created by RTA and Careem in order to operate the new service, which the latter is also hoping to be able to make use of to build other partnerships within the public sector in the UAE.
In a statement made to The National, the RTA said that it has decided to combine the entire 10,000-strong taxi fleet into the same platform, following the pilot schemes.
This includes all taxi franchise firms in Dubai, via the economical e-hailing service Hala.
Other similar services, such as Careem Go and Uber X, were thus requested to end their operations, with the deadline having been given several months ago.
The Hala service currently has 5,500 taxis available.
Their fares are similar to those that customers can expect to pay for taxis, which can also be called for on the street in addition to the new e-hailing service.
The expected time of arrival for the vehicles for customers is no longer than five minutes, and more taxis are to be added in stages until the whole fleet has been covered.
The Go service was launched by Careem in order to match the basic pricing of taxis that were run by the government of Dubai and to compete with the services of its then-rival Uber X, which was seen as the most affordable of the numerous ride services offered by the company, which is based in San Francisco in the US.
Different services can still be obtained in Dubai via the Uber app and website, such as Black, XL and Select.
Select offers premium rides in high-end vehicles, XL offers group rides for as many as six people, and Black provides a premium ride within luxury cars.
Anyone driving taxis, ride-sharing vehicles or ordinary cars is required by UAE law to have up-to-date car insurance.