Careem, Uber announce Hail-a-Bus service in Cairo on same day

December 4, 2018 6:06 pm

December 4, 2018 marks a day when Careem launched its new service, Careem Bus, with Cairo as the first city of operations and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi launched first ever Uber Bus from the Egyptian capital (for now, as a new capital is in the works)

Regardless, Cairo, a high population density city, is the scene of an intense rivalry between two hail-a-cab players vying for market share there and across the region.

Who announced first?

Read A brush with death: The exclusive untold story of Careem


It was Careem that beat UBER to the news that a new mid-priced bus service will be aimed at commuters and the launch comes as part of Careem’s commitment to solving transportation issues, improving mobility and creating jobs.

Careem Bus is a separate app from the ride-hailing product and is available for download on iOS and Android. Customers are able to choose the pick-up and drop off location after which they will have the option of picking the bus that best suits their time.

They will also be able to track the bus as it arrives, the same as when ordering a Careem car, and fares will be fixed at a set rate which is 60-70% cheaper than the Careem car service.

The fleet of buses are air-conditioned and trips are booked through an app ensuring that every user is guaranteed a seat. The service is currently cash only, but soon passengers will be able to pay via the Careem wallet on the app.

Research conducted by Careem revealed 40 percent of the Egyptian population is not being adequately served by a transportation service that suits their needs and the situation was getting worse.

Read: Careem to be valued at $2.5 billion if Uber acquisition goes through

It found that reducing traffic in cities as mass shared-mobility could lead to an 80 percent reduction in the number of vehicles and CO2 emissions by 2050.”

Greater Cairo, now a megalopolis, is home to 22.9 million people and is projected to contain 40 million by 2050. A report from the World Bank estimates the annual costs of the congestion in Cairo to be up to $8 billion with around 50 hours per person every month spent in traffic and 60 percent of trips only having one passenger per vehicle.

Careem said it plans to expand the service to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in the near future.

Read: UBER resolves dispute with Abu Dhabi 

Next is UBER

December 4th, 2018

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi joined the Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Sahar Nasr in Cairo today (Dec 4) to announce the launch of Uber Bus in Egypt. Uber also announced it would bring Uber Lite, a new version of the rider app built to work in low connectivity, and with older Android devices, across the Middle East region early next year

“Uber Bus, a product built for Cairo, incorporates Uber technology into the city’s already popular minibus system to provide safe, seamless, and efficient trips,” UBER said.

“Cairo is the first city globally to be rolling out Uber Bus and is an important step as Uber broadens its platform to be more accessible so that truly anyone, anywhere can get a ride,” UBER added.

In a statement, Uber expanded: “When Cairo residents request a Bus ride through the standard Uber app, Uber will find other passengers traveling in the same direction so that everyone can get to their destination with fewer stops. As the rides are shared with other Uber passengers, the price is affordable enough for everyday use, while still maintaining Uber standards.”

Uber Lite, the new, space-saving app works in low connectivity areas and on 99% of Android devices.

Read: Uber launches Safety Toolkit for riders and drivers

Having opened its Centre of Excellence in Cairo in 2017 with an investment of around $20 million, Uber has now, in 2018, chosen Cairo once again, this time for the launch of Uber Bus.”

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber CEO, said: “Egypt and the Middle East region are hugely important to Uber and we will continue to heavily invest in this part of the world.”

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Hadi Khatib
By Hadi Khatib
Hadi Khatib is a business editor with more than 15 years' experience delivering news and copy of relevance to a wide range of audiences. If newsworthy and actionable, you will find this editor interested in hearing about your sector developments and writing about it.