(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) googletag.defineSlot('/1251894/News-InArticle-300x250', [300, 250],'div-gpt-ad-1482928565536-6').addService(googletag.pubads()); googletag.pubads().enableSyncRendering(); googletag.enableServices();googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1482928565536-6'); More than 14,000 Dubai taxis and limousines can soon be booked via Uber after the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) signed a cooperation agreement with the ride-hailing app on Wednesday.
The agreement will entitle the California-based Uber to offer the booking service of more than 14,541 public vehicles, including 9,841 taxis and 4,700 limousines.
Another highlight of the agreement is the provision to study "new economic transit solutions" including carpooling aimed at reducing the number of vehicles on the roads in support of Dubai Vision 2021.
"This initiative signals the keenness of RTA to implement the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to rank Dubai as the smartest city world-wide since smart mobility is one of the key elements of smart cities," said Mattar Al Tayer, RTA director-general and chairman of the board of executive directors.
RTA's agreement with Uber is the second of its kind signed with online taxi booking companies. In October last year, RTA first signed an agreement with Dubai-based online booking service company Careem. However, for Uber, which is present in 500 cities across the world, this is the first time they forged a partnership with a government entity in the region.
"The agreement with Uber offers a new service for residents and visitors who wish to move around Dubai by taxis and limousines. This contributes to realizing people's happiness, providing quality services for tourists and enhancing customers' experience," said Al Tayer.
The agreement will work as per the laws governing the operation of taxis and limousines in Dubai. Meaning, there will be no increase in the tariff but the fare is still 30 per cent higher than the usual taxis hailed on the road, explained Adel Shakri, RTA director of transport systems.
Al Tayer also added: "The RTA, in cooperation with Uber is considering the deployment of new mobility options to cater to the needs of customers in Dubai and reduce vehicles on the roads."
Anthony Khoury, regional director of Uber Middle East, explained to Khaleej Times the timeframe of the agreement: "Now that it has been signed, we will work closely with the RTA in the next three months to study the viable solution to launch an affordable transport method."
"I don't know yet exactly the tariff, but it will be cheaper than our current fare. The idea is in the first phase (first three months), we will study what really makes sense in Dubai - with no vehicles involved yet. And in the second phase (next three months) we will launch pilot cars on road test for a certain period of time, initially within Dubai then on a wider scale.
"We are committed to working with RTA on launching a more accessible Uber service for riders, and further adapting our innovative solutions to Dubai," Khoury explained.
"We had a shared vision for jointly developing a world class economy solution that addresses the transport needs of the city and its ambitions towards becoming a global tourist and business hub. We look forward to the results of the study and to working with RTA on making Dubai a city that sets the standard for global innovation in the transport industry."
"The partnership with RTA is a giant step for Uber and we will do our best to support RTA's efforts to find easy mobility solutions for customers," added Khoury.