It does not ‘employ’ any drivers, it says.

Jojo Puthuparampil is a business news writer for Inc. Arabia.

Taxi-hailing company, Uber, does not stop its drivers from working for others, including its local rival Careem, as it does not require cabbies to sign exclusivity agreements with the firm, according to Chris Free, general manager, Uber UAE.

Uber does not formally employ any drivers or own any cars and, as a result, does not require partners to work exclusively on the Uber platform,” Free told Arabian Business.

Uber has more than 3,000 driver-partners in the UAE, although all drivers are limo company employees and use the Uber app to gain access to a wider pool of clients.

The drivers otherwise work at hotels or are contracted to businesses, he said, adding that Uber allows them the freedom to get more work during slower periods and when not on a contracted shift.

Uber currently competes with Dubai-based Careem in the Middle East, but has run into regulatory complications MENA-wide. Last year Uber and Careem were both suspended from operating in Abu Dhabi for a while, but remained tight-lipped as to the reasons. In Jordan the taxi companies are leaning on the government to come down on the ride-hailing apps, saying that the companies are operating illegally and threatening the established taxi corporations, as well as causing more congestion.

As recently as this week, Uber had to admit defeat against taxi companies in Italy, as the government banned the firm from operating in the country.

Back in the UAE, Uber recently added an AED3 ($0.82) surcharge to its bookings as part of new regulations imposed by transport authorities on ride-hailing services. Careem did the same, and both companies asserted that the amount would be passed directly to Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

The RTA, however, denied that it had anything to do with the extra charge. So it’s still unclear where this extra fee is going.