Careem rolls out 'Hala' RTA taxi booking on its app

Dubai authority plans to have its entire fleet of 10,000 taxis integrated on the app by next year

The Careem Networks FZ ride-hailing app is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone 8 in this arranged photograph at the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018. Careem last month acquired Indian bus shuttle service app Commut as the Dubai-based ride-hailing firm expands into mass transport. Photographer: Christopher Pike/Bloomberg
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Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) plans to make more than half of its fleet available to book through Careem’s ride-hailing app by mid-September and all 10,000 of its taxis by the start of next year as it aims to reduce wait times, officials said.

Careem and RTA rolled out its new joint venture, Hala, on Thursday to support the integration. Customers can download the app and pick the “hala” icon to book a regular cab.

“This initiative will boost the taxi sector in Dubai in terms of easy access to vehicles through e-hailing, which helps the authority to achieve integration between various means of transport,” said Ahmed Hashim Bahrozyan, chief executive of public transport agency at RTA.

Fares will be same as taxis hailed on the street with a base fare starting from Dh8 during regular hours, Dh9 at night and Dh12 during peak hours. There will be a cancellation fee of Dh12 if the customer does not turn up after booking the service through the app. The cancellation fee will be applied after a waiting time of three minutes, officials said.

RTA plans to rolls out the service to its entire fleet of 10,000 taxis by the beginning of next year and cut down the estimated arrival time of taxis to less than 5 minutes over the next few months.

“It is a milestone moment for the industry, with the public and private sectors coming together to bring ride hailing tech to everyday taxis,” said Bassel Al Nahlaoui, managing director of Careem Gulf and Pakistan.

People will be able to use credit cards to pay, see routes in advance and rate the drivers.

Careem was bought by rival Uber for $3.1 billion (Dh11.39bn) in March and is going through regulatory approvals in all of the territories where it operates to finalise the deal.