Uber and its rival Careem have suspended services in the Capital of United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi following clashes with regulators. The two have had their drivers arrested by authorities for what is claimed as failure to comply with regulations. However, these regulations are unstated. According to Financial Times, 9 drivers from Careem have been arrested while other Media Sources claim a total of 50 drivers between the two apps have been stopped or arrested by police.
Uber, which launched services in Abu Dhabi in 2013 has posed competition to some of the established taxi companies in the UAE, which according to FT are owned by some of the most prominent families, which could explain the regulatory spat. The Abu Dhabi government’s Center for Regulation of Transport by Hire Cars had earlier this year asked that ride-hailing apps to raise fares and comply with licensing requirements that limit the number of drivers available for hire. These moves were meant to offer a fair-play ground for all player including some partly owned by the government.
Careem on its part has managed to capture a large segment of the Middle East and north Africa and Pakistan market outpacing Uber. Careem which is based in Dubai is owned by Saudi and other regional investors. The two services have pledge to restore services once the issue is clarified.