Uber discusses offering cheaper transport options with Dubai’s RTA

Uber launched affordable service uberX on a trial basis in Dubai in April

Ride hailing service Uber’s plans to offer cheaper transport options to customers in Dubai on a permanent basis may have got a step closer following a meeting on Wednesday

Uber vice president and CEO in Europe and the Middle East and North Africa Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty met Roads and Transport Authority director general and chairman HE Mattar Al Tayer to explore means of cooperation, according to Dubai Media Office.

The talks included the initial results of a study into offering new “budget mobility products in support of Dubai Vision 2021”.

Lower cost products will “enhance mass and shared transport, reduce the number of vehicles on the roads and deliver transport services through electronic communication channels”, according to the announcement.

However, the RTA stressed this would be within the law governing the operation of taxis and limos in Dubai after both Uber and rival Careem have fallen foul of regional regulators in recent years.

Read: Uber, Careem services down as drivers detained in Abu Dhabi

“This initiative stems from RTA’s keenness to implement the directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, aimed at transforming Dubai into the smartest city in the world. The smart mobility is one of the key pillars of smart cities, and RTA considers Uber a strategic partner in delivering smart transit services in Dubai,” Al Tayer said.

Uber launched affordable service uberX on a trial basis in Dubai in April with a limited number of vehicles.

Read: Uber launches trial of affordable service uberX in Dubai

Base fares on the service began at Dhs5 with a rate of Dhs1.37 per km and Dhs0.4 per minute.

The trial period was meant to last three months.

Current laws mean Uber and Careem must charge fares that are 30 per cent higher than local taxis, impacting the competitiveness of the services compared to other global markets where Uber is often cheaper than taxis.