UAE’s Careem welcomes localization of the ride-hailing sector in Saudi

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Dubai headquartered ride-hailing service Careem has welcomed the Saudi Arabia government’s decision to fully localize the sector in the Kingdom noting the move would help to create more jobs for the drivers in the country.

Earlier this week, the Saudi Minister of Transport and Chairman of the Public Transport Authority (PTA), Saleh Al-Jasser approved 100 percent localization of the ride-hailing activity, limiting work to nationals in public and private vehicles or through facilities. The ministry also added that the rule will have a small impact as citizens already made up 96 percent of the workforce in the sector.

“We are proud that over 100,000 Saudi nationals are finding income-earning opportunities with Careem each month. We’ve worked hand-in-hand with the Transport General Authority and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development to help the Kingdom achieve its ambitious agenda and applaud the efforts the government is making to support Saudis working in the ride-hailing sector,” a Careem spokesperson stated.

Further, the spokesperson added that Careem has planned to maintain its investment in the country with a huge range of transportation and delivery services. Even though the ride-hailing service didn’t reveal its number of operations in the Kingdom, it said it had 33 million registered users in 13 countries across the region and operates in 28 Saudi cities.

Ibrahim Manna
Ibrahim Manna
MD – Global Markets

“COVID-19 has impacted our ride-hailing, starting in March. This is a natural result of lockdowns, curfews and other limitations of movement, changing user behavior and habits in daily life. But while the ride-hailing service decreased, food delivery demand soared. Due to the change in the daily lives and needs of the customer, we adapted quickly and provided them with what they needed most. We partnered up with many stores, pharmacies and restaurants, to deliver essentials to citizens in Saudi Arabia during a difficult time.”

Mueed Al Saeed, assisting vice president of Land Transport Regulation of the Public Transport Authority stated that there were 16 companies including Careem licensed to operate ride-hailing services in the Kingdom. In the past three years, 300 million trips had been carried and there are nearly 250,000 drivers actively working for these services.

The Ministry of Transport has taken several steps to boost the job opportunities in the ride-hailing sector including deals with the Social Development Bank on funding the purchase of private vehicles and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development to provide subsidies for Saudis.