Arab News

Careem launches service between Saudi Arabia, Bahrain

- Arab News Riyadh

Dubai’s Careem has introduced a ride-hailing service between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, it was announced on Monday.

As part of the service, users can book a car for a one-way journey from Bahrain to a number of Saudi cities, including Dammam, Alkhobar, Dhahran, Jubail, Buqaiq, Hufof and Riyadh, with fares starting from $198.

The intercity service was first piloted in the UAE and Egypt, and the vehicles can carry up to five passengers for each trip.

Careem’s GCC General Manager Khaled Nuseibeh said in a statement: “As we continue to invest in the Bahraini market, Careem remains committed to broadening our product range to provide convenient transporta­tion solutions within and across cities.”

Careem, which has revolution­ized mobility and delivery in the Middle East, is looking forward to a full recovery to pre-pandemic business levels by the end of this year, its founder and chief executive Mudassir Sheikha, told Arab News earlier in an interview.

Sheika said: “From the depths of that crisis we’ve actually recovered quite strongly. If you look at the mobility of people business, which moves people from point A to point B, it’s grown 10 times from that point.”

He also revealed that the Careem workforce in the Kingdom now comprises 100 percent Saudi nationals.

Careem also made a big move to attract female “capitanas” when Saudi laws were changed to allow women to drive, but this has been a more challengin­g goal. “It has something that we would love to do a lot more on. We have a small percentage of our fleet who are female captains in Saudi (Arabia), and once in a while you will get a ride with them. But it’s been hard to scale that program,” Sheikha said.

In the last 12 months, Careem has diversifie­d, from a purely ridehailin­g app to what it describes as a “super app,” offering additional services such as grocery delivery, courier, and payment facilities. Branching out in this way has helped save the business and instigated the need for new employees.

During the peak of the pandemic, the company said the number of rides it carried out dropped by around 80 percent and it set about laying people off.

“There has been a transforma­tion from a ride-hailing business to a super app, and that’s a transforma­tion that’s quite technical

in nature, and we’re still in the early stages. So we’re heavily recruiting in certain parts of the business,” Sheikha told Arab News.

Careem was founded in July 2012 and operates in over 100 cities in 13 countries in the Middle East.

This week it was reported that non-oil trade between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia rose 18 percent to $781 million during Q2 of the year.

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