Uber's first Emirati drivers take to the road in Abu Dhabi

App-based taxi firm said it hopes more Emirati employees will follow suit

Abed Al-Blooshi is the first Emirati to take to the roads for Uber. 
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Uber has announced that Emirati nationals have started driving for the app-based taxi hire firm in Abu Dhabi for the first time.

The news comes following the firm’s recent relaunch in the city in December last year, after a disagreement over passenger fees was resolved.

Now, anyone who is over 21-years-old and has held a driving licence for more than a year is eligible to drive for the company.

A spokesman for Uber said Abed Al-Blooshi was the first Emirati to begin driving for them, and that they were hopeful more Emirati nationals would follow.

“We are confident that we will continue to see an increase in Emirati sign-ups who seek Uber to make a flexible income,” said Tino Waked, general manager of Uber Middle East and North Africa.

“We’re proud to continue to bring our technology to even more driver-partners and riders across the country.”

In September 2016, Uber took the decision to suspend its Abu Dhabi operation due to a dispute over the cost of using the service.

Regulations dictated that app-based firms must charge up to 50 per cent more than the price of a standard taxis fare, making using Uber prohibitively expensive.

Now, a new agreement has been reached between the firm and Abu Dhabi authorities, with Uber costing around 30 per cent more than standard taxis.

"Abu Dhabi has always been an important market for Uber and we have worked collaboratively with Abu Dhabi’s Integrated Transport Centre to align to their vision and show our commitment to fully supporting the city’s efforts in pioneering flexible, part time opportunities and an even better quality of life through urban mobility and smart initiatives,” said Mr Waked.

“The first Emirati driver-partner on the app has already embarked on his first trip in and around the capital.”