Dubai signs deal with ride-booking company Careem

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Dubai’s transportation regulator has reached a deal allowing riders to book taxis through local ride-hailing service Careem.

The deal announced Tuesday by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority will allow Careem users to book more than 9,800 taxis and 4,700 limousines through the service’s smartphone application.

Careem and San Francisco-based rival Uber offer similar services in the Gulf commercial hub. Existing regulations require them to partner with private limo services and charge rates 30 per cent higher than taxis.

The RTA’s Careem deal appeared to catch Uber off-guard. In a statement, Uber said it believes any agreement must put riders’ interests first and is “committed to continuing the conversation and ensuring riders and drivers in Dubai are benefiting from our leading technology.”