Dubai rise in non-oil foreign trade
Taxi app firms told to accept regulations that allow riders to book private and public
By Patrick Ryan Private hire firms are being urged to work with transport bosses in Dubai following the introduction of new regulations for booking a taxi through apps.
That was the message from both the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Careem, after the firm signed up to the agreement that will allow the public to call Dubai taxis through the app as well as Careem’s own fleet.
“You have to be realistic,” said Bassel Al Nahlaoui, Careem Vice President of Business and Government Relations.
“Some companies are comparing it to a much larger area because they operate in so many other countries.
“We see value in this partnership, there is no way forward without collaborating with the RTA.”
Careem spoke out after suggestions that other private hire firms were unhappy about the inclusion in the new regulations of a Dhs5 fee per fare to be paid by the operator to the RTA.
“There will be fees on both sides, that’s how a partnership works,” Al Nahlaoui said.
Firms have until March 2017 to sign up to the new agreement if they want to operate in Dubai. “It’s a significant milestone in our efforts to supply and provide for the people in this region,” Al Nahlaoui said. “It’s important to be in line with regulation.” A spokesperson for fellow private hire firm Uber suggested, though, the current price structure is preventing the firm from operating services available in other countries. “Existing regulations set by the RTA state that we price 30 per cent above RTA taxis,” the firm said in a statement. “This has prevented us from offering the same level of service and solutions, such as car-sharing options for riders, including UberPOOL, as experienced by riders across 450 other cities. “We have been in ongoing discussions with the RTA for the last two years over how we can make Uber more accessible to riders; and how Dubai can benefit. “We believe that any agreement signed must put the riders’ interest first.”
An RTA spokesperson said: “It’s an agreement that was made with everyone. Any company that signs up with the RTA has to follow the regulations.” Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade for the first half of 2016 stood at Dhs647 billion, with the volume of traded goods witnessing a 17 per cent rise. Dubai Customs said that imports accounted for Dhs401 billion, while exports and re-exports were valued at Dhs74 billion and Dhs172 billion respectively. With a high of 49 million tonnes of commodities traded during the period, up from 41 million for the same period the year before, Dubai Customs said the figures show that Dubai is progressing well in its plan to reduce reliance on oil revenues and move towards an economy that depends on foreign trade as well as other income sources. “To offset the impact of the general slowdown in world economy, lower commodity prices and the slump in oil prices, Dubai has wisely restructured and broadened its sources of revenue while taking considerable measures to stimulate growth in the affected sectors,” said DP World Group Chairman and CEO and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem.