Dubai-based ride hailing firm Careem has launched its bus booking service Careem Bus in Egypt, aiming to ease mobility in the busy metropolis of Cairo.
The company said that its new service was a middle ground between the existing public transport and ride hailing cars. Careem Bus will allow users to choose buses on a specific route after they enter their pick up and drop off locations. Upon selecting a bus, the user will be given the details of the driver and the plate details of the vehicle.
Careem Bus will use 13-seater buses at the start of its operations in the country.
With the new service in Egypt, the ride-hailing firm is hoping to tap into the middle-segment that is increasingly being forced to buy cars for their commute and therefore adding to the traffic snarls.
However, communal ride-sharing options are not new to Egypt. Homegrown start-ups Swvl and Buseet provide on-demand shuttle bus services for local commuters in Cairo. With both raising significant amount of funding recently, they are prepared to expand their services within Egypt and regionally. Careem’s rival Uber too has a significant market share in Egypt with its services.
Despite such large number of players, Careem is hoping that Cairo and rest of Egypt could use more such solutions that would ease mobility with its bus service launch. Careem cited a World Bank study that estimated the annual costs of congestion in Cairo to be as high as $8 billion. It also cited an internal survey which revealed that 40% of the Egyptian population is not being served by proper transportation that suits their needs.
Careem’s foray into a bus service also comes as it acquired Indian bus shuttle service Commut earlier this year. Its has not shied away from investing in high-growth startups that would complement its expansion plans.
It has invested in Egypt’s Swvl, an app that offers mass transportation for Egypt’s commuters, while it has partnered with China’s Didi Chuxing to gain access to its artificial intelligence expertise.
Recently reported to be in merger talks with its rival Uber, Careem also managed to raise a Series F investment of $200 million to fund its expansion across the markets.