The citizens of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, will not be able to use the services of Uber and its local rival service, Careem, until further notice, as both of the companies put their operations on hold.
As The National, local newspaper, reports, over 50 drivers who work for Uber and Careem had been arrested during the weekend. The confusion made around the mass arrests of their drivers could have been made due to the initiative of the local transport authorities to better regulate the taxi service market in the UAE.
Apparently, their authorities are trying to implement the Integrated Mobility Platform (IMP) that would allow users to pay for services such as Uber and Careem, the Monorail in Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Trolley in Downtown Dubai and private limousine services alongside the RTA’s own services, for the centralized user experience. However, the officials at the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport are not available for any comment regarding the problems these companies are facing at the moment and the reasons for their drivers’ arrests.
Uber has been operating in the Emirates since 2013 and it was recently supported by a $3.5bn investment from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, to develop its operations in the Middle East.
Their comment on the situation was:
“We work with licensed vehicles in Abu Dhabi and we are working closely with TransAD to ensure both a reliable service and adherence to fleet requirements. We will let you know of any further updates, our goal is to resume operations as soon as possible.”
Both companies report that services in neighboring Dubai are operating as normal, with firm belief that the suspension of their services in Abu Dhabi is only temporary. It is yet to be seen what are the actual reasons for this service disruption and what will be the extent of the negative effect it has on their overall customer experience.