By: Rola Al Ghoul ABU DHABI, 14th February, 2019 (WAM) — For the first time in Abu Dhabi, Emirati drivers will be working with the Dubai-based transportation network, Careem, giving passengers a glimpse on the country’s cultural and tourist magnets as well as its quintessential Emirati customs, traditions and values.
“Careem is proud to present the first group of Emirati Captains who truly embody national sentiments and a desire to serve the community, and in so doing, introduce their city in the best possible way to the visitors,” Bassel Al Nahlaoui, Managing Director of Careem Gulf, told the Emirates News Agency, WAM.
He was speaking at a press conference earlier today after unveiling the details of the first group of Emirati captains, who will join the company in the UAE.
Careem, in collaboration with Department of Transport’s Integrated Transport Center (ITC), began an outreach programme targeting UAE nationals, and promoted the new initiative encouraging eligible Emirati’s to apply. The new programme attracted more than 100 applicants, and Careem has revealed that the first group includes 14 captains, while more than 30 other captains are being prepared to join the fleet in the coming weeks.
“We are continuously looking at new projects across Careem as we have recently launched our delivery platform ‘Careem now’ and we’ve started with serving food through the application,” he added.
Asked if they are planning to target Emirati women in the future, Al Nahlaoui replied,” We are already targeting Emirati women and we already have Emirati women as applicants, and they are going through the process. We will see Emirati women on the road very soon.”
“In Careem, we are doing tens of thousands of trips every day in the UAE,” he said. “Careem created over 1.3 million jobs in over 120 cities across sixteen countries.”
Ahead of qualifying to drive for Careem, he said, all captains go through rigorous screening and background checks, including character references and driving history. To qualify for the programme, Captains must have local residency, be aged 23 and above, and with a minimum of five years’ driving experience.
For her part, Gheed El Makkaoui, General Manager of Careem UAE, said that her company and ICT chose to have a separate car type for this service, called ‘Go Emirati’.
“We wanted to give it more weight to provide Emiratis with both full- and part-time opportunities to showcase their authentic traditions and values of generosity and hospitality to the visitors.”
She added that the prices of the service will be equivalent to taxi, “The whole purpose is how to make it affordable to ensure that we are giving the opportunity for both the Captains and customers to experience this community service.”
El Makkaoui said that they received over 150 applications, and that she expects the number to increase. “The goal is to give tourists and residents alike a true Emirati experience because no one else can deliver it better than a ‘local’.”
Ahmed Al Mansouri, one of the Captains who is working as the Head of Business Development at du telecommunication company, said, “I have a part-time job at Careem, which is an experience I would like to take during my free time.”
“I also like to meet with new people who come to visit the UAE and learn about different cultures and societies,” the 30-year-old driver added.
Careem conducts training sessions in Abu Dhabi to upskill Captains on how to use Careem technology; best driving practices; vehicle and road safety, and customer service. Careem offers all Captains additional benefits including support for applying for a vehicle, health insurance, personal finance training and discounts on fuel and groceries.
The Emirati Captains will drive luxury cars including Lexus, Range Rover, Hyundai Genesis, Cadillac Escalade and Nissan Patrol to provide comfortable, high-end rides and offer ideal solutions to all segments of the community.