Uber faces tougher restrictions in the Middle East

Ride-hailing app Uber faces a tougher regulatory environment in its Middle Eastern headquarters of Dubai (something similar happened also in China), where the authorities are threatening to impose extra levies that could threaten its operations. The city’s transport regulator is demanding that its app, and that of local rival Careem, complies with a new set of regulations by today. They include an extra five dirhams ($1.36) per fare surcharge… This levy, coming on top of a pre-existing requirement to charge 30 per cent more than taxi services, threatens the thin margins of Uber and Careem in Dubai and could force them to refocus investment to other markets… Ride-hailing apps are expanding rapidly across the Middle East and north Africa. Uber’s fastest growing regional markets are Cairo and Riyadh. Uber, which earlier this year received a $3.5 billion investment from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, says it helps develop transport infrastructure and tackle unemployment with flexible work options.

Simeon Kerr