Dubai has been an extra-ordinary territory when it comes to adopting technology and the offshoots of any innovation. It might be surprising for everyone to know that Dubai, which today stands as an epicenter of modernity had just 13 registered cars in 1989.
Dubai is quite an oxymoron. In spite of its global image, Dubai has an affinity for homegrown Brands. This mindset is not just confined to the Emirates but to the whole of the Middle East, stretching right from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan.
While the whole world was going behind Uber, Dubai was creating it's own taxi service that spread to all the countries in the vicinity. We are talking about Careem. Careem was founded in Dubai but today, it has a presence in the middle east, Africa and South Asia. The company is valued at a whopping $2 billion.
For many people in the Middle East and North Africa, Careem is synonymous with on-demand taxi services. It goes all the way from Morocco in East Africa to Pakistan which is a part of the Indian subcontinent. Careem has been instrumental in the entire region adopting the Internet and the benefits that it brings. A lot of people have gotten access to transportation because of Careem.
Careem and Hala — The ‘Official’ Merger
Careem had become so powerful that the government of Dubai — the Road and Transport Authority of Dubai (RTA) in particular — has announced the launch of its own ride-hailing service called Hala in partnership with Careem. This progress has radically altered the landscape of transportation in Dubai. Careem has halted its economy taxi services and has agreed to take half the bookings of Hala. Careem also looks forward to expanding the services of Hala to all the other places that they have already marked their presence in.
People of Dubai have become so accustomed to this merger that they have already started booking RTA taxis from the Careem mobile app right from September. What makes the Hala services distinct is that they will not have multiplier surge pricing like the usual Careem cabs. They will, however, have a standard charge of AED 8 during regular hours and AED 12 during peak hours. There is also a cancellation charge of the Dh 12 if a driver is made to wait for more than three minutes.
What makes the takeover of Hala by Careem even better is than the users will directly get the benefits of the loyalty programs offered by Careem if they book the cab using the application.
The Promising Present and the Bright Future
The merger between Careem and Hala has resulted in a positive shift both in terms of business and customer satisfaction. Careem and RTA have been testing their booking services since May and it has been proven that the time taken for a taxi to arrive has been reduced by a staggering 65%. Today, the booking can be done through multiple methods including but not limited to the application and contacting the call center. In the near future, e-booking is expected to phase out all the call centers that handle bookings.
The booking services offered by Hala will be executed across all the franchises on the seven RTA. Hala controls 50% of the 10,000 taxis that are running in Dubai today. The plan is to combine all the Dubai taxis and offer them a single service by early 2020.
If you are interested in developing a taxi app in Dubai, Try a ready-made app solution like Uber like app. These kind of solutions are pre-loaded with features and the business model.
What Does It Mean For An Aspiring Business Person
At least for the Middle East market, it is quite evident that the government is trying to aggregate and organize the taxi services. However, it does give a very strong case of how a customer-centric business and a customer-oriented service can go a long way in transforming the thought process of a government body.
There might be a time when all the governments around the world become aware of the possibilities of creating an organized service by bringing private players together. At that juncture, it would be a great idea for you to have a customer-centric taxi booking business.
The ‘Customer’ Centricity
Just like any other taxi booking application, Hala and Careem also have the same features.
- The booking can be done at the touch of a button.
- The customer is provided with the information on how much time it would take for the taxi to arrive at their doorstep.
- The app features a route map that will show customers the route they will be taking to reach their destination.
- The driver of each taxi is verified, so the users can be aware of the person they are riding with.
- Multiple payment methods are allowed. Payment methods include but are not limited to cash, credit cards, and mobile wallets.
- The loyalty program ensures that the customers keep coming back. Customers can redeem their vouchers in the rewards section.
- The push notification keeps the customers notified not only about the rides but also about the payments, rewards and new schemes.
The ‘Driver’ Centricity
Given the fact that apps like Uber, Careem, and Hala are aggregators, even drivers can be considered as customers. Hala does a great deal to ensure that the drivers remain loyal to the brand as much as the riders do.
- Drivers have the complete liberty to choose their working hours.
- With the GPS enabled device, the driver can read the exact pick-up point of the customer.
- Just like riders, drivers also have access to customer support 24 x 7.
- It is extremely convenient for drivers to collect their payments even if it is made through digital methods.
- The drivers can register themselves with their details in very few steps.
- All they need to do is download the driver app and complete the essential training.
The Revenue Generation Model
Generally, cab booking businesses earn their revenue from three major channels. The most common method is to take a commission from the driver for facilitating the booking. The second is to capitalize on the demand by bringing in surge pricing. The last one is through subscriptions. Customers can make an upfront payment for a defined number of rides for a defined period of time.
Creating an app like Hala or Careem
Hala and Careem have redefined the way in which cab services were looked at. In the middle east, they might have found success with a lot of dimensions. However, they still stand out to be a global example when it comes to the success of any business that lays its emphasis on customer satisfaction.
With the availability of white label clones for Hala and Careem, it might not be a great idea for you to invest in developing the app from scratch. You can always consider purchasing the clones of these apps and customize them according to your brand. This will save you a lot of time and money because time is of crucial importance in hitting the market and reaping your profits.