Useful Apps for Transportation
A Round-up of Taxi-booking Apps for Residents in MENA
A round-up of taxi-booking apps being available to MENA residents
nyone living in a city would know what a nightmare traffic can be. Worse yet, waiting for a cab under rain or a scorching sun. Using public transportation services might seem like a good solution—that is, if your country has a reliable infrastructure. But even with good metros, buses, or even taxis, there are times when you eventually find yourself stranded, and in desperate need for a ride. Here we round up some of the best rated, free travel apps available for people in the Middle East.
Headquarters: United States Release date: June 2010
Compatible with: IOS (6.0 and later), Android (2.1 and later), Blackberry and Windows Phone
Geographic reach: 101 cities, including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, and Riyadh
Language: Arabic, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malayan, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, and Thai Uber is a global on-demand car service that seamlessly connects users to private drivers. Uber doesn’t provide its own vehicles, but works with existing licensed drivers. Through the smartphone app, you can choose one of several grades of cars, send your GPS location data directly to the driver, track the car’s trajectory as it drives your way, and pay via Paypal or a credit/debit card directly from your phone. A receipt will be sent to your inbox once you arrive to your destination.
CAREEM Headquarters: UAE Release date: February 2013
Compatible with: IOS (6.0 and later), Android (4.0 and later), Windows Phone and Blackberry
Geographic reach: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Jeddah, Riyadh, and Dammam
Language: Arabic and English
Careem is a local, private car booking service whose value proposition competes head-to-head with Uber. Similar to its competitor, Careem only works with existing licensed drivers and cars. You can order a car online or using the mobile app. When you open the app, it automatically locates your position through its underlying GPS technology, then asks you to specify your destination. The app calculates the price of your ride, which you pay with your credit card, tracks the car in real-time, and gives you access to your receipts online. Unlike Uber, Careem also allows large corporates to sign up all their staff and pay through monthly invoices.
EASY TAXI Headquarters: Brazil Release date: April 2012 Compatible with: IOS (5.0 and later), Android (2.0 and later), Windows Phone and Blackberry Geographic reach: 158 cities, including Sharjah, Ajman, Al Ain, Riyadh, Cairo, and Alexandria Language: English
Easy Taxi, acquired and managed by Rocket Internet, is the largest taxi-booking app in the world, connecting passengers with an existing network of over 80,000 taxi drivers in more than 31 countries. The app’s intelligent bidding and GPS systems prioritize taxi drivers nearest to your location and send you their information, although booking a cab is not as seamless as you would hope for in some cities. Easy Taxi also has special services for B2B clients through Easy Taxi Pro and Easy Taxi Corporate solutions.
OGRA TAXI Headquarters: Egypt Release date: December 2013 Compatible with: Android Geographic reach: Cairo, soon in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Language: English
Ogra Taxi, a taxi-ordering app, is Easy Taxi’s local competitor in Egypt. Through the app, you can book a taxi, get information about the driver and the car coming to pick you up, and track it as it drives towards you. You are charged using premium SMS. Some users complain that their orders either don’t get through or take more time than expected, but this is understandable, being a service that recently launched in one of the busiest, most populated cities in the MENA region. It is currently working on versions for IOS, Blackberry, and Windows
Headquarters: Romania Release date: October 2012
Compatible with: IOS (6.0 and later), Android (2.3.2 and later), Windows Phone and Blackberry
Geographic reach: database of 20,000+ taxi companies Language: English and Romania It’s true that Clever Taxi is only functional in seven Eastern European cities, but it is in this list because it has the most comprehensive database of taxi companies from around 267 countries, covering most of the MENA region. It gives you the names of the nearest cab, as well as cabs in other cities around you, with their phone number. For people living in cities still lacking a reliable transport app, Clever Taxi will surely come in handy.
DUBAI’S ROAD AND TRANSPORT AUTHORITY Headquarters: United Arab Emirates Release date: March 2011 Compatible with: IOS (6.0 and later), Android (2.3.2 and later), Windows Phone and Blackberry Geographic reach: Dubai Language: English
Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority has released its own smart booking app for its yellow cabs in hopes to better manage its fleet of 8,300 taxis. Besides booking a taxi, the app allows m-parking service payment, calculates fares between metro destinations, shows your NOL balance, and gives you access to marine transportation services, such as water buses, water taxis and Ferry Dubai. It also allows you to apply for car parking permissions. The app, however, is not so swift when providing you with information on the nearest metro or bus station.
Headquarters: United Arab Emirates Release date: January 2014
Compatible with: IOS (6.0 and later), Android (2.2 and later) and Blackberry
Geographic reach: Dubai Language: English Dubai Taxi Corporation, part of RTA Dubai, has also recently released an app to enable users to access its main services, such as booking a taxi, calculating fares, tracking the car, and getting updates about DTC’S latest news. The app also has a database of major locations in the city. The app also addresses the needs of people with auditory disabilities and provides various deaf signals to facilitate their communicating with the driver. Being recently launched, it still has some bugs to fix.