Careem Bus has launched direct bus services from Jeddah to Makkah, offering bus transport at 60% less than typical ride-hailing services, according to Careem.
The Dubai-based ride-hailing platform, which was acquired by Uber for AED11.39-billion this year, first launched Careem Bus in Egypt, where it received a strong market response.
“The 13-seater service has been a huge success in Egypt, easing traffic flows and providing a safe and efficient way to commute,” said Hadeer Shalaby, director of Careem Bus, in a statement.
“Careem Bus will revolutionise mass transportation across Saudi Arabia and bring a new level of sophistication and price to our customers,” he added.
The direct bus services from Jeddah to Makkah will be operated by 13-seater buses and is priced at 25 Saudi riyals (AED24) each way.
The Jeddah-Makkah route, which received approval from the Saudi Public Transport Authority, serves pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah or Hajj.
Many fly into Jeddah airport, 85 kilometres away from Makkah.
Careem Bus is the first app-based mass transportation bus service in Saudi Arabia and is part of Careem’s “ongoing commitment to solving transportation issues, improving mobility and creating jobs”, the statement said.
Customers can book through a separate Careem Bus app, but walk-on passengers are also accepted.
The service is currently cash only, but soon will be available via several payment methods, including by credit card or Careem wallet.
Careem Bus is looking to offer bus routes throughout the region. It acquired Indian bus-shuttle app Commut in September 2018 and also said it is looking at launching in Pakistan.