The Ras Al Khaimah Transport Authority (RAKTA) has today announced the official launch of Hala’s taxi e-hailing service across all major areas in the Emirate, in a joint-venture similar to the one Hala shares with the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
The launch follows a successful pilot phase of 50 taxis, where the average arrival time for a taxi to the customer has reached under 5 minutes – a number expected to reduce as the taxi fleet now increases to 500 taxis equipped with Careem technology, allowing them to be booked easily and from anywhere, at the touch of a button, an official press release detailed.
The service will follow the same fare pricing model as regular taxis, with no surge pricing during peak hours, Hala stated. Available features for riders include knowing their ride’s ETA, fare estimate and route upfront, along with their driver’s details. Customers will also have a host of payment options available to them, including cash, card, or in app payments. Riders will automatically collect Reward points for each trip which can be redeemed as ride credits or against partner offers.
As for the second phase of the roll out, Hala noted that each taxi driver has participated in intensive training, with an onboarding program to ensure a high competency with the booking technology, and ongoing training schedule in place for continued development.
“We believe in using technology to simplify movement, empowering our riders to travel easily wherever they may need to go. I am happy to see the beautiful progress we have been able to realise in the pilot phase of our launch, with an average customer trip rating of 4.7/5, achieved by working closely with our valued partners at RAKTA to implement a service of the highest quality,” Clemence Dutertre, CEO of Hala, said.
According to Zawya, “the app service for Hala taxis is only available for journeys that originate in the two emirates of Dubai or Ras Al Khaimah, but drivers are able to drop passengers off in other emirates.”
Careem officially launched in the Emirate this July, and has recently undergone massive layoffs following the ongoing fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Ride-hailing is just one part of a five-year strategic plan by RAKTA that includes rolling out electric scooters, new bus stations and additional routes and Abra tours. As part of this plan, 300 electric scooters were deployed in Q1 2020, handled by e-mobility firms Circ and Arnab.
The need for Hala in the UAE
Launched in August of 2019, Hala is a joint-venture between the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Careem, representing a compromise between traditional taxis and ride-hailing services that would allow both to co-exist. Hala had signed contracts with all of Dubai’s seven taxi franchise companies.
Previously, we had seen some regulatory challenges in the region about the threat of ride-hailing companies like Uber and Careem to traditional taxi companies, be they national or private. Hala represented the perfect compromise, and one RAK is now opting for.
In less than a month, Hala had logged 1 million rides, proving the success of the concept and the need for it in Dubai.
Its service allows Hala customers to get a booking confirmation in less than 10 seconds, get a taxi in an average of 3.5 minutes, and benefit from an enhanced experience with an average quality rating of 4.8/5 stars. Overall, it allows travelers to have a more holistic view of their taxi drivers and the service as a whole, something that was not previously possible without the digital capabilities of Careem.