Careem to launch in Ras Al Khaimah as part of ambitious five-year transport plan

A fleet of e-scooters, extra bus stations and abra tours are also on the way to the emirate

The Careem Networks FZ ride-hailing app is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone 8 in this arranged photograph outside 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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Ride-hailing firm Careem is to launch in Ras Al Khaimah for the first time as part of a major drive to boost transport links in the emirate.

RAK Transport Authority confirmed it is close to finalising an agreement with the app-based service, which already has a strong presence in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Hundreds of electric scooters, new bus stations and additional routes and Abra tours are also to be rolled out under an ambitious five-year strategic plan unveiled by the authority.

I travel a lot and it will be much more convenient to book a trip to the airport using an app

‎‎“We are now in the process of finalising an agreement with Careem smart booking apps, which will provide ‎e-hailing services to book taxi and limousine for the first time in the emirate,” said Esmail Al Blooshi, general manager of the authority.

‎“Our goal is to offer the emirate’s residents and visitors with smart integrated transport services that will ‎boost quality of life in the emirate, bring happiness to people, and promote sustainability."

Three-hundred electric scooters will be deployed in the emirate during the first quarter ‎of 2020.‎

The e-scooters, to be used for leisure purposes during the initial trial, will be available in ‎Marjan Island, Mina Al Arab, Corniche Al Qawasim‎, Manar Mall, the Ritz Carlton Al Wadi Desert ‎Hotel and Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in RAK city.‎

‎“The scooters will be offered with high safety standards by two companies, Circ and Arnab, through a self-service rental ‎scheme to customers above 18,” said Mr Al Blooshi.‎

‎“The pilot will run for six months while the scooters speed will be restricted to 20 to 25kph.

"120 scooters are currently available at Corniche Al Qawasim and the rest will be deployed in the other locations next week.”

Customers will need to open an account with one of the two apps in order to operate the scooter. They will be asked to pay Dh3 to unlock the scooter and Dh1 per minute of use.

Hundreds of e-scooters are ready to ride in Ras Al Khaimah as part of a six-month trial. Courtesy: RAK Transport Authority
Hundreds of e-scooters are ready to ride in Ras Al Khaimah as part of a six-month trial. Courtesy: RAK Transport Authority

The Dh3 charge will be waived for monthly subscribers to the apps, who will also pay a reduced 50 fils for every minute.

As part of the strategy, three new bus stations will be opened and 30 new bus stops created.

‎“We are now in the process of evaluating the bus routes, and the best locations for the bus stops ‎and we expect the services to be activated in the second ‎quarter of this year,” said Mr Al Blooshi.‎

‎“The main bus station at Al Nakheel area will be upgraded according to the plan while three central ‎bus stations will be constructed at Shaam, Al Hamra and RAK International Airport,” he said.‎

“The new public bus fees will not exceed Dh4 as we are still in the process of confirming the exact price of the service.”

People will also be able to jump on board traditional Abra vessels docked at venues such as Manar Mall and Al Mairid.

‎Taxis are to be will be equipped with smart meters and cameras to make services more efficient.

Plans are also in the pipeline for new bus services linking Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.

‎Residents welcomed the new transport service plans, which they believe will make the emirate more connected and accessible.

“Life is all about technology now and being able to order a ride using an app is a privilege that we don’t have here,” said Mohammed Kassab, a Lebanese architect working in RAK.

“I travel a lot and it will be much more convenient to book a trip to the airport using an app and to wander around the city by scooter. Both plans are great,”

Acnaib Thomas, a Filipino cleaner, said a new bus route could save her precious cash on her regular trips to church.

“Each Friday I take a taxi with my other two roommates to go to the church and each one pays around Dh30 to Dh35 to go and come back,” said the 45-year-old.

“We will all save money if the bus will take us from Al Nakheel to the church complex.”

Salamah Al Ali said she had seen the new fleet of scooters on display and is looking forward to trying them out.

“I didn’t know that we could rent them,” said Ms Al Ali, 23.

“I will definitely try one. It is a great idea that will make the city smart and connected.”