The global rise of ride-sharing services presents a challenge to the traditional market dynamic of urban mobility. In Dubai, the car-booking app Careem, allows passengers to easily book a chauffeur-driven vehicle. Founded in 2012, Careem is available in 32 cities across the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia.
Careem Co-Founder and Managing Director Mudassir Sheikha, answered our questions about the service and the future of urban transport.
Which of your markets are expanding the fastest, and why?
Over the past four years we’ve grown substantially, reaching across 32 cities in the Middle East and North Africa region and Pakistan with the business expanding >30% month-on-month.
Right now, Egypt is our fastest developing market, due to the slump in tourism after the revolution. By becoming Captains with Careem, many unemployed people are now able to earn a steady income to support their families.
Egypt is our fastest developing market
Who uses Careem?
Regionally, business travellers and their companies have gained tremendous efficiencies from our service. Business travel is a large customer segment that is now able to seamlessly book and pay for reliable ground transport throughout the region via our website, call centre, or mobile app. (…) Now, consumers use our service for all aspects of their daily lives – to go shopping, visit friends, for travelling to work, and more besides.
Eighty percent of our customers in Saudi Arabia are women. Through research, we found that approximately three to four million women are unable to work in here because they lack reliable transport. Today, Careem enables them to do so by providing a reliable means to get to and from their place of work
What is your pricing policy?
The RTA [Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority] requires our fares to be at least 30% higher than those of taxis. We have priced our services at the bare minimum we can. Our economy service prices are exactly 30% more than taxi fares, but we do occasionally offer promotions and special offers that help make the service even more affordable. This is the case in the UAE. In many markets we are cheaper than traditional taxis.
Careem is committed to continuing to aid the future transformation of urban transport.
Do you think services like Careem are and will continue to reshape the future of urban transport?
Most definitely. Not only will transportation continue to witness technological transformation, but it will continue to improve the lives of people in the region. Careem is committed to continuing to aid the future transformation of urban transport. We will be investing $100 million (€96m) in R&D, which includes growing our team in the UAE and Pakistan, and opening new R&D centres in Egypt and Germany. With this investment we hope to accelerate innovation in transportation-related technology infrastructure for the region, as well as keeping Careem at the forefront of this dynamic new industry.
This is a shortened version of an article published in Public Transport Trends 2017, UITP’s flagship publication released every two years. Read the full interview – and many more – in Public Transport Trends 2017!
Are you looking for the latest developments in taxi revolution? Don’t miss the next UITP International Taxi Seminar in London ('Taxi's role in the future of digital urban mobility', 7-8 December 2017). This two-day event is an excellent opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge and learn about smart solutions with leading taxi experts from across the world.