Dubai: Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has endorsed a plan for a gradual shift from conventional taxi’s street-hail to e-hail services, aiming for an 80 per cent e-hail adoption rate in the coming years. The decision stems from the success of Hala e-hailing rides, which accounted for 30 per cent of all taxi trips in Dubai in 2022.
As per the plan, RTA will allocate a dedicated fleet of taxis to exclusively offer e-hail services using specific mechanisms and performance indicators for the service. Hala will be responsible for promoting the e-hail service by creating new channels geared towards attracting more users and implementing incentive initiatives for drivers.
The plan also encompasses designating only those zones where e-hail services are accessible, allocating parking spaces for both street-hail taxis and e-hail vehicles, expanding parking availability in high-demand areas, and identifying these parking spaces on the RTA and Hala smart apps.
How to book
Users need to download the Careem app on their mobile devices and set up a personal account. They can then choose Hala vehicles from the available options and confirm their pick-up location. Once the destination and preferred payment method are selected, users can tap the ‘Yalla’ button to finalise the booking. A text message containing the driver and booking information follows shortly.
The e-hail service provides a range of features, such as securing bookings in less than 10 seconds, locating the closest available vehicle, and monitoring the journey in real-time. Additionally, the service streamlines the process for drivers by allowing them to receive user requests via the e-hail system, eliminating the need for roaming.
Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said: “The expansion of taxi e-hail services, as opposed to street-hailing, reinforces the government’s goal of transforming Dubai into the world’s smartest city. This step also aligns with the worldwide shift in urban transportation planning, focusing on improving individual mobility, decreasing dependence on private cars, fostering happiness among residents, delivering outstanding services to visitors, and boosting customer satisfaction.”
He added: “E-hailing has emerged as the most efficient means of matching taxi supply with demand and providing customers with hassle-free, efficient taxi services. E-hail taxi service boosts the efficiency of taxi operations in Dubai by streamlining the process of locating and booking rides electronically. This leads to a higher percentage of trips with shorter waiting times of 3.5 minutes or less, thereby increasing customer happiness and satisfaction while reducing wasted mileage, fuel consumption, and carbon emissions.
“Customers can also benefit from other features such as seamless in-app e-payment, optimal route selection, trip-sharing options, access to driver and vehicle details, and the ability to rate both the service and the driver. These services further support RTA’s initiatives to integrate diverse transport modes and offer first- and last-mile solutions, enabling mass transit users to conveniently reach their ultimate destinations.”
Al Tayer explained that the shift from street-hailed taxi trips to e-hailing services aligns with leading global practices of the industry, as exemplified by Singapore, where 80 per cent of taxi services are facilitated through e-hailing. The initiative was further supported by an in-depth analysis and assessment of Hala, the e-hailing company, to identify the operational network, organisational structure and technological capabilities.
Hala has experienced steady growth since its launch in 2019 in its user base, accounting for 11 per cent of total taxi trips in 2020, increasing to 18 per cent in 2021, and reaching 30 per cent in 2022. As many as 11,662 taxis operating in Dubai during the previous year completed 105 million trips, said Al Tayer.