Uber faces pressure in Dubai as regulator signs deal with rival
By Tom Arnold and Stanley Carvalho
DUBAI/ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Ride-hailing service Uber [UBER.UL] is under pressure in Dubai, one of the Middle East's major markets, after the emirate's transport regulator signed an agreement with local rival Careem and warned other such firms that they must do the same.
Under the deal between Careem and Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), announced on Tuesday, Careem's customers will be able to book all of the 9,841 taxis and 4,700 limousines operating in the emirate through the company's app.
Currently, Careem users in Dubai, a city of about 2.5 million people, can only choose from a few thousand limousines which it offers through its app.
"Any e-hailing service that wants to continue working in Dubai must sign an agreement with us. Why? To have control of tariff and to have control of safety," RTA director-general Mattar al-Tayer told Reuters.
He said other ride-hailing services would have to sign similar agreements with the regulator by next March to continue operating.
The requirement is a further challenge to Uber in the United Arab Emirates. Its services in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, bordering Dubai, have been suspended since August in an apparent dispute with authorities there. Careem also halted its Abu Dhabi services in late August but resumed them a few days later.
Uber, which has an valuation of around $69 billion, has expanded aggressively to more than 450 cities since 2009, fighting a series of battles with local regulators.