New limo booking service Careem offering free rides today

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To drum up business, Careem, a limo-booking service in the Gulf that takes orders via its website and smartphone apps, is offering residents two free rides today (Tuesday).

Under the offer, Qatar-based customers can take journeys – which must be booked for immediate travel, not pre-booked – of up to QR100 each way.

The #CareemTuesdays promotion, designed to increase the company’s profile, is on offer in Doha, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh. 

The Dubai-based startup officially launched the service in the UAE earlier this year and then expanded to Doha and Riyadh a few months later. So far, it has some 5,000 registered users in the region, but only 600 in Qatar.

System

All of Careem’s bookings are managed on the web or via the company’s mobile apps, and then relayed to the limo services and drivers they partner with here. They don’t actually have their own drivers or cars.

The system allows you to track your car in real-time as it drives to your location, and to rate the service you receive. The company claims that it only takes 15 seconds to make a booking.

Charges are calculated at a rate of 2.5 QR per km, plus an initial fee of QR10 for immediate bookings, and QR15 for pre-booked. The minimum charge for an immediate booking is QR30, and QR60 for pre-booked rides. All charges must be paid for with a registered credit card (although some debit cards work too).

Taxi woes

The expansion of Doha’s car booking options is good news for residents who have become increasingly frustrated by the service offered by existing providers.

Switched-off meters, drivers’ lack of general road knowledge and alleged intimidation are among the complaints registered by customers frustrated with government-run taxi firm Karwa on social media. 

Some Doha residents have already been taking advantage of Careem’s free service today:

Although others have complained that the company’s fees are too high in general:

Have you tried it yet? Thoughts?

Credit: Image courtesy of Careem

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