New taxi-hailing service from Dubai’s RTA and Careem to officially launch in September

Up to 50 per cent of RTA’s taxi fleet will be bookable on the Careem app

The new taxi-hailing service set to be launched by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Careem will officially start operations in September, it was announced.

The service will be offered under a a joint venture (JV) service called Hala, a statement said. Hala will be 51 per cent owned by the RTA and 49 per cent by Careem.

Hala started a trial e-hailing service for Dubai taxis in May using 2,000 vehicles which can be booked using the Careem App.

The trial saw “substantial growth” over the subsequent weeks, Matar Al Tayer, director general and chairman of the RTA said.

The estimated time of arrival (ETA) has reached an average of 4.5 minutes versus previous average of 12-14 minutes, aiming to reach an ETA of 3 minutes in September.

Up to 50 per cent of RTA’s taxi fleet will be bookable on the Careem app.

“Launching ‘Hala’ aims to improve and enhance the taxi sector in Dubai and increase efficiency, ease the finding a taxi by booking through the app, and lower the estimated time of arrival,” said Al Tayer.

“It also gives the customer special advantages such as e-payment through the app, knowing trip route and being able to share trip with others, seeing the car and driver information, and ability to rate the service and driver.

“Hala will be also a part of the Careem rewards programme whereby customers get to earn points as they ride. The service will support RTA in achieving full mobility integration and providing first/last mile solutions, which will help public transport users reach their final destination,” he added.

The partnership was first announced in December, with officials estimating that almost 11,000 taxis will be operated by the new company.

The RTA said that the deal is the first in the world between a public transport authority and a private sector ride-hailing service.

Mudassir Sheikha, co-founder and CEO of Careem said: “We are now able to extend the benefits of our e-hailing technology to the mass population of Dubai through the ‘Careem’ taxi e-hailing app.

“Customers will be able to find the closest taxi to them on demand, see a fare estimator and time of arrival and connect their credit card. It also means less down time for the drivers who can optimise their time on the road through customer proximity matching and real time alerts of geographical areas experiencing high demand,” he added.