Explainer: How is the GCC’s ride-sharing industry evolving?
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Explainer: How is the GCC’s ride-sharing industry evolving?

Explainer: How is the GCC’s ride-sharing industry evolving?

Global ride-sharing app Uber is looking to expand its presence in the region, says Tino Abdellatif Waked, general manager at Uber MENA


The ride sharing industry in the GCC has boomed in recent years. Where does it stand at now?
The GCC is a fast-growing market, bringing new technological advancements to better our everyday lives, thus providing huge opportunities for various industries, in particular the ride sharing landscape.

In recent years, the ride sharing industry has evolved rapidly – and we at Uber realise that we need to understand and address issues people in the region face when it comes to transportation, and find solutions that meet their needs so that everyone can have access to ride sharing technology.

Looking at Saudi Arabia specifically, we are seeing more and more women receive their driving licences, therefore increasing their participation in the workforce through access to affordable transportation such as ride-sharing, in addition to increasing women’s access to flexible, part time economic opportunities.

Overall, the Middle East is an important market for us, and Uber today is available in seven countries across the region.

This region has been strongly regulated when it comes to the ride-sharing industry. Rules here for operators are also different from other parts of the world. Do you expect more regulatory control?
Not just in this region, but globally too, regulations and policies are constantly being brought in and we are always working closely with governments and local entities across the region.

Safety and privacy have become major concerns in the industry. What is being done to address this?

Safety is a key priority for ride sharing companies and there’s nothing more important. At Uber, we’re putting safety at the heart of everything we do and we believe technology can make travel safer than ever before.

What kind of an impact have you seen following Uber’s acquisition of Careem last year? Why choose to take over your regional rival?
This deal is an important step for the Middle East where two companies can come together and complement each other’s strengths to better serve the region and maintain the local experience. Careem has built an incredible business and has an excellent understanding of the region.

Both companies believe it will provide an opportunity to expand the variety and reliability of services offered, at a broader range of price points to serve more consumers.

With sustainability taking centre-stage worldwide and in the region, what role does the ride sharing industry play in promoting environmentally friendly practices?
Today, we’re at an inflection point, and the private and public sectors need to come together and collaborate on ways to create smarter, safer and more efficient ways of getting people from A to B.

The environmental challenges facing transportation are complex and many decades older than ride sharing companies. Critical barriers such as affordable access to adequate vehicles, insufficient urban fast charging infrastructure, and driver opportunity costs due to charging needs can only be solved through collaboration.

What is the future of the ride sharing industry regionally? Do you see more collaborations with public entities? Will more players enter the market?
We are always exploring ways that allows us to continue to give people more access to multiple mobility options that are reliable, affordable and safe.




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