Dubai launches new short-term smart car rental service

Roads and Transport Authority says cars can be rented for period not exceeding six hours via smart apps

The head of Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has inaugurated its new smart rental service, described as the first of its kind in the Middle East.

The service enables customers, especially public transport users, to rent cars for short periods not exceeding six hours via smart apps.

The RTA said it has contracted with U drive and ekar to operate 200 vehicles (100 each) at a fare ranging from 40 to 50 fils per minute according to the location of returning the vehicle.

The car door is opened by clicking an icon in the smart App and is switched on by entering the PIN number in the device fitted in the vehicle. The vehicle can be locked through the Smart App and parked at RTA’s parking lots only.

Mattar Al Tayer, director general and chairman of the RTA, said: “The smart rental service supports RTA’s efforts to bring happiness to people and increase the ridership of public transport means. The service also aims to enhance the integration of mass transit systems through easing the mobility of commuters, especially metro and tram riders, to their final destinations."

He said that at a later stage, the service would be available through the Integrated Mobility Platform in Dubai, which is currently being implemented by the RTA and will enable customers to access all means of transport in Dubai through a single app.

Under the rental deal, vehicles are deployed over 45 locations including five main locations at Dubai Metro stations namely Rashidiya, Burjuman, Ibn Battuta, Union, and Business Bay Stations.

“The hourly car rental system provides bespoke alternative transit means for public transport riders in Dubai that goes with their needs and requirements, and offers them access to the best global practices of car-sharing of rented vehicles, besides providing highly efficient and cost-effective transit means," said Al Tayer.

Vilhelm Hedberg, co-founder and CEO of ekar, said: “As part of our partnership, half of the ekar fleet is deployed around the Dubai Metro stations to provide seamless linking of communities across the Emirate with end-to-end transportation solutions. Through this visionary carshare scheme, we will provide freedom of driving a car without the hassle that ownership gives.”

Hasib Khan, managing director of U Drive, added: “Car Sharing has developed to a sustainable mobility with a strong growth worldwide. We believe that Dubai’s Smart Vision, the transient nature of life and the overriding costs of car ownership, make Car Sharing an excellent mobility solution."

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