Uber's Middle East rival Careem launches bus-booking service in Egypt

An employee shows an advertisement for ride-hailing company Careem, on a laptop in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman (Reuters)

DUBAI (Reuters) - Middle East ride-hailing company Careem said on Monday it had launched a bus-booking service in Egypt and would soon expand it into Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Users of the 'Careem Bus' app select their pick-up and drop-off location and track the bus along dedicated routes, the Dubai-based company said in a statement. It offers fixed rate fares between 60 percent and 70 percent cheaper than those on the separate car service, it added. The launch comes more than a year after Careem invested $500,000 in Egyptian tech start-up Swvl, which offers bus booking services on its own mobile app. Careem said it had since divested the stake. Swvl announced last month it was planning to expand to Southeast Asia after securing "tens of million of dollars" in its latest funding round. Careem competes in many major Middle East cities with San Francisco-headquartered Uber Technologies [UBER.UL]. Reuters reported last month that Careem has been working with investment bank Jefferies as an adviser on investment options and fundraising, including a potential merger and acquisition deal in the region with Uber. (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Andrew Heavens)