Uber opens up for Qatar residents amid rise in demand, surge in prices

Qatari authorities relax drivers’ requirements for ride-sharing apps to address the shortage ahead of the World Cup.

Citizens and residents who rely on ride-sharing apps like Uber for transportation have found themselves in a hassle this week after fares witnessed a significant surge ahead of the World Cup.

Rides that previously cost just QAR 30 can now cost up to QAR 190, according to several users in the Gulf nation who take the same trip daily to work, and can reach up to around QR 300 during peak hours, screenshots shared by social media users showed.

The convenience of catching a ride in less than 5 minutes thanks to such apps has also been affected, with users waiting at least 10 minutes and more to be assigned a driver.

One source told Doha News that she waited almost 30 minutes to find a driver during peak hours for a 15-minute ride.

“It was around QAR 180 and even then I couldn’t find a driver. I think it is mostly because of construction and road closures,” she said.

“Drivers don’t want to go around in circles and waste time, but is spiking up prices this much the only solution? How will people afford to go anywhere is beyond me,” she said.

It is still unclear whether such rates will be the norm during the World Cup or whether it is a short-time occurrence due to the most recent road closures.

Driving in Qatar during the entirety of the tournament is expected to be challenging due to the closure of the Corniche road and several other main roads around stadiums and fan zones.

Traffic is also expected to be at an all-time high due to the surge in visitors expected in November and December.

Officials have encouraged visitors and residents to take public transportation during the event to ease the flow of traffic.

Flexibility to sign up as a driver

Meanwhile, in an effort to address the rise in demand during the FIFA World Cup, the Ministry of Transport and Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) has relaxed the requirements for drivers on Uber and other ride-sharing applications.

Previously, only those who hold a Qatari commercial driving license and are employed by a limo company were able to work with Uber in the Gulf state. 

However, from now until December 20, residents of Qatar will now be exempted from needing to register with a limousine service or have a “driver” designation on their identification cards before using Uber or other ride-sharing applications.

Residents who are over 21, own a vehicle made between 2017 and 2022, have a valid Qatar ID, and have a valid driving license, now have a way to make money and ease the demand on ridership.

“Individuals living in Qatar, nationals, and expatriates, can now sign up on the Uber App as drivers with their private cars, providing them a flexible earning opportunity for the next two months,” Uber said in a statement.

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