Illustration by Joaquin Kunkel

Ride-Hailing Applications in Trouble

Uber and Careem apps suspended their services to drivers and customers. Uber remains offline

Sep 4, 2016

On Aug. 27, up to 70 drivers using ride-hailing applications Uber and Careem in Abu Dhabi were arrested and taken into custody, according to The National. Both apps subsequently suspended their services to drivers and customers. Uber remains offline, whereas Careem resumed its service earlier this week.
Senior Jose Varias, who has used both apps previously, noted that when trying to use Careem on the evening of Aug. 31 — soon after its service was resumed — the cost was 20 AED more than the regular price of traveling from near Sama Tower to the Saadiyat campus. Varias used the Abu Dhabi Taxi App to hail a taxi instead, and one arrived within 20 minutes of placing the request.
With the low-cost version of Uber, Uber X, which was recently introduced in Abu Dhabi, prices of Uber and Abu Dhabi TransAD taxis were roughly comparable. With promotions often offered by Uber to new customers, taking an Uber X is sometimes cheaper than taking a TransAD taxi. Reports in The National suggest that the undercutting of taxi prices was what prompted the crackdown.
Senior Arame Dieng noted that Careem was also more useful as their cars could accommodate more passengers than Uber, and larger vehicles were more readily available from Careem than from TransAD taxis.
For Varias, the benefits of these apps are simple: "The reason I use Uber or Careem is because I don't carry cash."
"It would cost me [eight AED] to get cash and it's only a five AED difference with a cab, so I'm not paying as much and [Uber] is more comfortable."
Both students said that they were likely to switch to using TransAD taxis if prices for Uber or Careem were permanently increased.
Connor Pierce is Editor-in-Chief. Email him at feedback@thegazelle.org.
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