Dubai-based Careem launches bus service for pilgrims in Saudi Arabia

Careem Networks FZ, a Dubai-based ride-hailing company has expanded its services in Saudi Arabia with the introduction of a bus service dedicated to pilgrims flocking the country’s shores every year. The company will provide direct rides from Jeddah on the red sea to the holy city of Mecca daily. Each side of the ride will be priced at 25 riyals ($6.70) covering a distance of 85 km. The buses designated for the journey will have 13 seats each.

With the launch of the mass bus service from Jeddah to Mecca, Careem aims to capture the traffic of pilgrims comprising visitors as well as residents of Saudi Arabia embarking on the religious journey of Umrah. Unlike the greater pilgrimage of Hajj, Umrah can be undertaken at any time of the year, providing a year-round playing ground for Careem. With Saudi Arabia expecting the number of pilgrims to reach a whopping 30 million from the current count of 8 million by 2030, the ride-hailing company seems to have given themselves a promising market to explore.

As a key player in the mass transport segment, Careem is not new to introducing mass bus services. The company has already introduced and is currently running a similar ride in Egypt since December last year.  

The move to start bus service in Saudi Arabia will further U.S. mobility giant Uber’s position in the Middle Eastern market, owing to the fact that Careem has agreed to be acquired by Uber Technologies.