Dubai residents will no longer be able to call for an RTA taxi from next month

All bookings now have to be made through the Careem app

DUBAI , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES , JULY 5 – 2018 :- Dubai RTA taxi waiting for the customers near the Ibn Battuta metro station in Dubai. ( Pawan Singh / The National )  For Stock
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Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority is introducing changes after announcing residents will no longer be able to call for its taxis from next month.

The RTA revealed all bookings will be made through the new Hala e-hailing feature on the Careem app, from December 7.

Previously, commuters could phone a taxi by contacting the RTA's call centre.

Careem launched the Hala e-service in September and has already recorded a million bookings.

“This step marks a paradigm shift of Dubai Taxi booking process from the call centre to Hala,” said Ahmed Bahrozyan, chief executive of the RTA Public Transport Agency.

“This contributes to RTA’s objective of revamping taxi services in Dubai, making the service more accessible through e-hailing, and at the same time advancing the integration of public transit means.”

The RTA call centre will continue to be used for lost and found items.

Clemence Dutertre, chief executive of Hala, said customers would be the winners of the new scheme as they would experience significantly reduced waiting times.

“Our mission is to offer the best experience to customers when booking a ride in Dubai,” she said.

The average waiting time for a taxi through the app is three-and-a-half minutes, according to Ms Dutertre.

She said the previous average wait for customers who contacted the call centre was 11 minutes.