Cab hailing is part of life but technology has brought us one step closer to hailing it from our very own living room (or any other room for that matter), and we don’t have to wave an arm on the street too! And, since we have discussed the inner workings of one famous cab service already, it’s natural we want to review another reliable service now; Careem (Arabic word, meaning ‘Generosity’)
Established in Dubai, UAE in 2012 – Careem aims to be generous to captains (aka drivers), and the customers both. The cab-hailing service isn’t running on a massive scale, but its presence is quite reliably operating in 14 countries and approx. 35 cities. Let’s take a closer look at what Careem has to offer its riders.
Careem being a very reliable service tries to address local cab-hailing problems that a region faces. For this, they first assess the travel issues and then introduce a workable travel solution. Perhaps this is one of the main reason why they are so dependable and why they have invested in offering many car types, various payment solutions, great map integration, several booking options and a decent customer support system.
Switch between tabs to see the many features that Careem offers you:
You need a working mobile number and an email address to signup with Careem. Once you signup using the phone number & email address, it will verify if both are legit or not and within 24 hours it will send a 20% promotional code. This is a clear sign that your account is confirmed and working.
You can book a Careem ride using their 24/7 phone number, web-based form and through their dedicated apps for iOS and Android.
If you go to their website, you will land on ‘Dubai’ page by default and notice that Careem is offering 5 car solutions; Business, Max, Economy, First Class and Careem Kids, whereas if you switch to another country, say Pakistan, you will not see Max, First Class and Careem Kids but Business, Economy, WiFi and Go.
The difference? Well, you can easily see that by looking at the images next to selected vehicle type – however, all cars come with the same comfort level and trained captains. The car is clean, air-conditioned, scented too at times and certainly not old, battered nor with a half-way stuck window.
Now & Later
The feature to book a ride “Now” and “Later” is where you realise that Careem has really invested in serving their customers wholeheartedly, otherwise… they may not have introduced this feature.
The ‘Now’ feature is self-explanatory but ‘Later’ is where you need to know a few things. So for instance, there is a wedding you need to get to and naturally you want to arrive on time and not look harassed or sweaty; all you have to do is book a ‘Later’ ride. A ‘later’ ride ensures that the car type you want arrives for you before the scheduled time and takes you where you want to go. Cool right? Its a tad bit expensive than ‘Now’ booking but hey, you can’t put a price on ‘peace of mind’ okay!
This doesn’t end here; If you happen to have a repeat event; say you need to go to the office daily, just enable the ‘repeat’ toggle for your ‘Later’ ride. Next, select all the days when you want a car, set a time, select a drop-off point, and you’re done! Easy-peasy!
Note: You cannot book an advanced ride which is over a month away
Careem map is very well integrated with the app. Like Google Maps, you can switch between both terrain and satellite views and also press the traffic signal symbol to get traffic conditions!
The app further allows you to set a manual pickup and drop-off location which is super amazing because you could need a pick from a nearby infamous meat shop! So adjusting the pin to that specific ‘meat shop’ is totally possible and very easy too.
This little gimmick of ‘manual adjustment’ is immensely useful especially if you are booking a ride for a friend or a family member because you have the power to set both the pickup spot and drop-off point manually!
Careem’s payment system is a breeze… They offer various payment solutions such as Credit Cards, Cash, Etisalat Credits (Loyalty Program), Top-up feature and there is also a wallet feature which is simply too useful for words.
The wallet works like a credit system which they offer to solve the problem of ‘spare change’. If you pay more cash, and the driver cannot return the extra amount, he simply punches-in the amount in his app, and the app automatically detects that the paid amount is more than the total fare of your ride and hence credits your account with the remaining balance.
At this point, I have PKR 7 in my Careem wallet. I can use this amount for upcoming trips or just choose to keep it for a rainy day when I actually have NO cash on myself (although I don’t know how far I can actually go with my valuable PKR 7!) but, on the upside, the expiry of wallet credit is 365 days, and this keeps increasing as more credit is added to the account – something I should consider doing in the near future…
All card related transactions are over a secure connection via SSL, so your card details are safe with them.
Other Nifty Features
If you think manually setting a location, offering various payment solutions and adding the crazy awesome option of booking a “Later” ride is all that sets Careem apart, you are mistaken. The UAE-based cab-hailing service uses all the tech that is available to them (unlike some other ‘ahem’ services pretending to be uber awesome, pun intended) to offer some other nifty features.
Check out some more “common sense” functions that Careem has opted to offer (to further lighten the burden of hailing a cab)
Remember how I said Careem verifies the mobile number at signup, well they send text messages for important notifications such as:
Cash Payment Text
If you pay the captain extra cash amount, you get an SMS which confirms that your extra money has been deposited into your Careem wallet. If you don’t receive this text when you have paid more, please contact Careem so they can look into the situation. Also, within 24 hours, your app should reflect the deposited amount.
Careem may notify you via SMS if there is a promotion running in your city or any voucher which they have themselves issued into your account!
You remember how I said at the beginning that Careem verifies your email address, well they use email to send you billing receipts after every successful ride (which are very detailed). They also send you an email for cancelled bookings, credit card verification, change in selected payment method, promotions and of course, complaints and feedback can also be sent/received from this medium.
This offers a very nifty and useful gimmick which sadly other cab hailing services don’t – saving unlimited locations. At the moment, I have about 17 Pickup/Drop-off pins saved. To save a location, all you have to do is search for the place and find the exact pickup/drop off point, next just press the ‘star’ on the right side of the which is slightly visible in the searched area. As soon as you have pressed it, a new pop-up opens for you to mention any specific details regarding that location and if you have any instructions for the driver to locate you quickly. I usually ‘save’ locations when I realise that I will be using this place frequently. I also try my best to mention details of the pinned area so the driver can locate it quickly and as a stand-by, for instructions, I always type that the driver turns on the hazard lights when he is approaching the location so I can spot the car easily from far
When your ride ends, open your Careem app and there you will see your bill summary and a pop-up asking you to rate the driver – Obviously 5-star rating denotes ‘best’, 4 represents ‘good’, but 3 star and below depicts an average, poor and awful ride. I find this worth mentioning because if you choose to give 1, 2 or 3-star rating to the ride, a fresh page opens which offers multiple categories where the ride goofed up. Simply select an option best describing your pain-point and write the details below in the given area. A customer rep contacts you regarding the situation within 24 hours.
Careem App Itself
The app offers a very seamless experience with everything; booking rides, tracking cars, adding promo codes, paying for rides, checking car rates (for any country/city), looking at past bookings and topping Careem wallet. The app is regularly updated on both iOS, and Android platform and hence has virtually zero glitches – not counting network problems of course. They used to support Windows Phone OS in the past, but they don’t anymore.
If you own a smartphone which is Android or iOS based, simply download the Careem app. Once again, if you are not an app person, Careem offers two other solutions to book rides; a Web-Based solution and a 24/7 Phone Booking option. For the phone option, you need to get their contact number from the website directly.
Booking a ride via their app is easy
- Just sign in (make sure you have a stable internet connection)
- Choose a car type
- Set a pick-up location. By default, the app picks your position, but you also have the option to manually adjust the pickup spot… which means you can set a pickup location for any country/city where Careem operates. Here you will notice that the pickup spot shows a “7 Min” or “25 Min”. This is the ETA of available cars, and if there are no cars near your pickup spot, the round patch will be empty with a red border. ETA of cars keeps updating itself every 30 seconds so keep a close eye on it… As soon as you see round patch showing an ETA, start the booking process.
- Set a drop-off point. You can set this via the search feature or choose the option ‘I will guide the captain’ – either way, setting up a drop-off location is not difficult.
- Ogle at the fair estimate (unless of course, you have chosen to guide the captain, in which case, the app can’t give you an estimate, and you can’t gawk at it either)
- If you have a promotional code, type in the code (this section is right next to the “estimate fare”) and click ‘save’ for the code to successfully apply.
- Smile at the ‘reduced fare estimate’ and take a screenshot so you have proof that the code applied successfully.
- Press the big green button to start the booking process.
Customer Support System
In my opinion, if the customer support system is bad, the entire service suffers and slowly becomes useless too. Careem’s customer support isn’t as fantastic as Amazon’s at the moment, but it is still quite stellar especially if it’s compared to many others or any other for that matter! If you email them, you get an automated reply immediately and usually a human response follows within the next 24 hours. If email is not your style, you can always bother them on Twitter (and I usually get a reply within the hour). If tweeting doesn’t suit you, Careem rep is just a phone call away.
Being human, the reps on all these fronts have their drawbacks but NOT on a grand scale; Careem reps are mostly prompt, generous and intellectual too! Out of several tickets (read 81), not one is outstanding.
Careem also has this very decent compensation model; if the driver doesn’t reach you within 30-45 minutes of booking, you automatically get some compensated credits. And all year round you get promo codes giving discounts during special occasions.
Careem is supremely fantastic because of all the functions & features it adds to the cab hailing process. The wallet functionality, ability to save unlimited locations, being able to adjust the pickup & drop-off point manually, facility to book a car for a ‘later’ time and the constant stream of promo codes – is all I need to feel blessed (on the roads). Since the customer reps are already decent, honestly, I don’t know what other new features they can add to streamline their service even further. Oh hang on, it’s already streamlined!