UAE - The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA
) and transportation network company Careem officially launched Hala, an e-hailing service, on Thursday.
Nearly 50 per cent of RTA's taxi fleet, amounting to 5,500 taxis, will now be bookable on the Careem app starting mid-September, announced senior RTA and Careem officials at a press meet in Dubai. The changes will eventually be implemented on all seven RTA taxi franchises, which includes a total fleet of approximately 10,000 taxis.
Since the launch of the pilot phase of the project in May, RTA and Careem say they have been able to successfully cut down the estimated time of arrival of a taxi to 3.5 minutes.
Ahmed Bahrozyan, chief executive officer of the Public Transport Agency, RTA, told Khaleej Times, "The waiting time for ride hailing using the RTA call centre is approximately 10 minutes. With Hala, we have been able to bring down the ETA to under five minutes."
Bahrozyan and Ibrahim Sultan Al Haddad, the director of the Commercial and Investment Department of the RTA, stated that call centres for ride-hailing purposes will eventually be phased out of the RTA, depending on demand for Hala.
Bassel Al Nahlaoui, the managing director of Careem Gulf and Pakistan, and Clemence Dutertre, the chief executive officer of Hala, explained to the media that users can select to ride Hala under a drop-down option on the Careem app.
The Hala service offers the same price per km as street-hailed taxis, with a base fare starting from Dh8 during regular hours to Dh12 during peak hours, with no multiplier price surge. "However, a cancellation fee of Dh12 will be charged if the driver has been made to wait for over three minutes," said Dutertre.
Nahlaoui said, "Hala will also provide all customers who book a Dubai Taxi on the Careem app the full Careem app benefit, including Careem loyalty program rewards."
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