Hala at Me: Careem launches new e-hailing service called Hala

October 8, 2019

2 min read

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What's going on here?

Careem, on a joint venture with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai, recently launched an e-hailing taxi service called Hala”, which allows users to book local taxis through the Careem app.

What does this mean?

Hala is a company established by Careem and the RTA to assist the government’s effort to make Dubai the “smartest” city in the world. The partnership is the first of its kind, because it paired a public transport authority with a private company that specialises in smart taxi booking.

The new e-hailing service began life in May 2019 under a pilot phase, during which 2,000 rides were booked through the Careem app. Hala offers the same price per km as a street-hailed taxi in Dubai, with a base fare of £1.77 during regular hours, to £2.65 at peak hours. The trial was largely successful, with mostly 4 out of 5-star ratings and a reduction in the estimated time of arrival of a taxi in Dubai, to 3.5 minutes.

Having fully launched in September, users have access to almost 50% of the RTA’s fleet, which is 5,500 taxis. As Hala has signed contracts with all 7 of the RTA’s taxi franchises, the regulator’s entire fleet of 10,000 will soon become bookable through Careem.

What's the big picture effect?

It is hoped that Hala will introduce efficiency within the taxi sector in Dubai, through the ease with which a cab can be hailed. Customers also benefit from e-payment via credit cards, better knowledge of their trip route, and assured safety from having the car and driver’s information.

However, the introduction of Hala has seen the discontinuance of Go by Careem and Uber X, two of the cheapest e-hailing services offered by Hala’s competition. Careem had initially launched its Go service to compete with their then-rival Uber X’s service (for our report on that, click hereand to match the price of the RTA’s local taxis.

Uber is being challenged in several countries. As taxi drivers are complaining that it is undercutting their fares and threatening to drive them out of business, it’s unsurprising that the decision to end both Careem Go and Uber X was a direct result of a directive issued by the RTA.

However, Hala is endorsed by the government and purports not to put traditional taxi services out of business. It looks as though transport in Dubai has turned onto a new road which avoids the pitfalls that Uber faces.

Report written by Evania D’souza

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