Bookings will only be available via the e-hailing service, Hala…

RTA previously announced they would be closing their phone lines on Saturday December 7, but this has been extended ‘ to offer clients more time to adapt to the new technology’.

Now, from Wednesday January 15, you’ll no longer be able to call for an RTA Taxi to pick you up, Dubai’s Roads and Transports Authority has confirmed.

At the moment, you can call the RTA’s call centre to book a taxi, but as of January, that will no longer be the case.

As the company moves to a digitally-focused presence, RTA taxi’s will only be bookable through the Hala e-hailing service, the joint venture between RTA and Careem. Hala is available within the Careem app.

“The move heralds a shift from the interactive voice response system of taxi booking in Dubai to Hala e-hailing system on the Careem app,” a Tweet from the RTA read. “This step marks a paradigm shift of Dubai Taxi booking process from the call system to Hala.”

Of course, you’ll still be able to flag a vacant RTA taxi down on the street, but the call centre number will only be used for dealing with cases of lost and found items.

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How to book an RTA taxi using Hala

To book an RTA taxi using e-hailing service, Hala, you’ll need to download the Careem app and set up an account. Then, simply select the Hala (Dubai Taxi) car option when making your booking.

“Hala customers will get a booking confirmation in about 10 seconds which was 2-3 minutes under the old system and get a taxi in an average of 3.5 minutes (11 minutes under the previous system), while keeping the fare unchanged,” said Ahmed Bahrozyan, CEO of Public Transport Agency, RTA.

What is Hala?

Hala, the joint taxi-booking venture between RTA and Careem, was first launched in July 2019, although a trial of the service began as early as May 2019, with 2000 RTA taxi’s originally available to book via the Careem app. The trial was received well and by September, the entire fleet of more than 10000 taxis became available on the e-hailing service.

At the time of announcement, Mudassir Sheikha, co-founder and CEO of Careem, said: “We hope ‘Hala’ will enhance the taxi experience in Dubai for both customer and Captain (driver) and to set a new world standard where ride hailing and the public sector can obtain common benefits”.

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Images: Twitter