Ride-hailing giant Uber and homegrown Careem have both ended their cheapest options in Dubai as per regulatory requirements, the companies said.
Careem has canceled its Careem Go while UberX, its cheapest option, is not available following an RTA decision. Both the options were part of a pilot scheme that was sanctioned in 2017 to test the market, the firms said.
“UberX has been operating as a pilot in Dubai for the last two years, subject to RTA discretion and approval,” Uber said in a statement. “As per the recent decision by the RTA to bring this pilot to an end, we will be ceasing the operation of UberX in Dubai.”
The RTA too confirmed in a separate statement to the media that both UberX and Careem Go were introduced as a short-term e-hailing service. The regulator said that these were introduced to “check on the feasibility of such technology and services in the market.”
The local rideshare market has been competitive, which recently led Uber and Careem to merge in the region while still maintaining their brand identities. While ride-hailing firms have had an uneasy relationship with regulators across the world, they have enjoyed a cordial relationship in Dubai, which also boasts of a large fleet of taxis.
Careem also recently teamed up with RTA to launch a joint venture called Hala that allow users to book Dubai taxis through a Careem app for a fee. The RTA aims to offer about 5,500 taxis through the Careem app by September, reports indicate.
Ride-hailing firms in the region have also expanded into other forms of mobility to diversify their revenue streams. Careem has launched a scooter service in Cairo while Uber offers both shared mobility options through a bus and a boat in the Arab country.