Uber Technologies and its Middle East competitor Careem Networks suspended services in the capital of the UAE for a fourth day, amid reports that police have arrested drivers and impounded cars.
“At this point we will not resume services in Abu Dhabi until we have further clarity on the matter and reassurances that partners will not be at risk,” Uber said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. Both companies described the suspension as temporary and Uber said none of its drivers were arrested.
Police arrested 50 drivers working in limousine companies and impounded 70 cars, The National reported late Sunday. Mohamed Al Qamzi, general manager of TransAD, the city’s taxi regulator, said the companies had on occasion contravened regulations by offering trips at a lower price than licensed limousines, the newspaper reported.
A spokesman for the Abu Dhabi government’s Executive Council wasn’t able to comment.
Uber, founded in 2009, has faced opposition in almost every country it entered. Taxi drivers in Paris clashed with police during a protest against it earlier this year, while governments in Spain, Thailand and elsewhere have at one time or another banned the service which allows users to summon taxis from their phones. In Saudi Arabia, some municipal and business-lobby leaders have said such services are illegal or, at least, need closer oversight.
The controversy hasn’t dented the companies’ ability to raise billions of dollars in venture capital funding. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund this year invested US$3.5 billion in San Francisco-based Uber. Dubai-based Careem last year received a $60 million investment from Abraaj Capital and others to help it expand in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Careem, founded in 2012, operates in about 30 cities.
Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter