Uber the Transportation App today announced its first Middle East outpost with rides in Dubai. Uber’s Anthony El-Khoury in a blog post said the company is still in the early stages of testing, so Dubai riders can expect a limited number of cars for now. Dubai residents or tourists in the city will be able to use Uber’s or Android apps to summon nearby cars. The city’s traffic is terrible, so let’s hope Uber can keep with the congestion. Take a ride and give feedback on Twitter @Uber_Dubai.
Dubai is likely just the starting point for Uber’s Middle East expansion–the company is working to staff up in the region. Earlier this month, Uber began offering “secret” rides–or tests–in Johannesburg, South Africa, the company’s first foothold on the African continent.
Careem, which means “generous” in Arabic, is the same concept as Uber, launched earlier this year in UAE. Like Uber, Careem doesn’t have its own fleet of cars; it partners with “close to 30” limo companies in the UAE that employ a total of 350-400 drivers across Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Depending upon the ride, Careem might not be much more expensive than a taxi. On-demand limos cost a minimum of 40 AED (~ US $11), while those booked in advance, like an airport trip, cost a minimum of 75 AED (~US $21).
Ultimately it’s the consumers who will decide the fate of both the companies.
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