By Andy Sambidge
Motorists will have to pay to use attendants once self service begins by end of H1 2010.
Fuel station attendants will be available for an extra charge to motorists once Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) introduces its self service option later this year.
Customers using the new self service offering will pay a flat rate for their fuel but those still wanting to use an attendant will have to pay extra, the company said on Thursday without saying what the cost would be.
ENOC said the self-serve concept for motorists would "bring about time and cost efficiencies and also reduce the waiting time at the service stations" in a statement.
The company added that it was considering the implementation of the self-serve concept as an option across its network of 170 service stations in Dubai and the Northern Emirates by the end of the first half of 2010.
Some of its employees currently involved in attending to customers at service stations may be transferred to other service stations in line with the company’s expansion across the UAE while other may also be trained for other careers within the company.
"The group is looking at providing motorists the choice to fill up petrol on their own and pay at normal retail prices, or use the full-serve option by attendants at an additional fee," the statement added.
According to ENOC, the move "is in keeping with international trends and offering customers greater convenience" and follows the results of a pilot scheme held in 2008.
"By learning from global best practices and integrating these into its local petroleum retailing business, EPPCO/ENOC hopes to benefit customers and the UAE community at large," it added.
The company said it has recently invested AED50 million to "modernise and automate all its service stations, and enhance customer service, operational efficiency and environmental performance".
Services at the revamped stations will be managed from a remote facility, saving time and introducing new ‘interactive’ features for customers at the fuel pump. The new systems will be fully operational within the first half of 2010, the company said.retail news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Is someone going to control these guys? This is a very new concept being introduced to the world. First they decided not to accept credit cards causing inconvenience to one and all. Now they decide to charge for attendants. Anyone can impose any charge on any customer. Only customers have nowhere to go and complain. I think Govt should interfere to keep things as they are.
Being from the States I understand the concept of self service at a lower price and full service at a much higher price. I don't have a problem with that. But Dubai has not made self service an easy concept unless they install the types of petrol pumps like in the States where we can easily swipe our credit card at the pump, pump our petrol, then go. If we all have to walk inside to pay cash or even walk to an attendant to pay cash this is inconvenient, especially during the hot summer days. If this is Enoc's idea of self service then this will not save anyone any time at all. If Enoc wants to keep "with international trends" and offer us "greater convenience" then install credit card pumps and make the idea of self service more "user friendly". This is a move to save money, pure and simple. First the attendants were told to stop washing our windshields. Has everyone noticed this stopped a few months ago? With fewer attendants they did not have the time. Now Enoc wants to cut down on the few attendants left but introducing self service. The question is how much full service will costs. I do not expect there to be a set fee because the amount of time it takes an attendant to fill a tank of petrol varies. I believe the Enoc stations will just increase the price of petrol at full service stations. I expect the increase to be as much as 25%. Many local and expat ladies will pay versus trying to pump the petrol themselves. Enoc will definitely make more money out of this scenario.
Sure thing OJ. Enoc will provide a "SERVICE" of being able to use a Credit / Debit card, but not for free. They will charge you for the 'privilige' of using a credit card. They did try to pull this stunt a year or so ago, before deciding to stop cards altogether (except for their own branded cards). Hope fully paying for fuel would be an easy task rather than having to jump through hoops for it...
Sure, I expect that if credit cards are introduced there will be a fee involved, but then at least I have a choice of cash or credit along with the choice Enoc gives me of full service or self service. Enoc can increase prices, create self service stations, reduce station attendants, etc. and we are at their mercy. The goal should also be to make the process as painless and easy as possible. Sitting outside in the hot sun pumping my own petrol does not sound like fun and during the summer months I probably will not do it. But during the winter I still want to get in and out of petrol stations as quickly as possible. If the credit card fee is less expensive than paying full service cash prices it may be worth it for some people. But to be honest, I do not see Enoc investing in credit card pumps when it appears their goals are to save and make more money, not spend money to help make their customers petrol station experience faster & more convenient.
By introducing self serve the time it takes to fill your car is increased!! Many current stations have large tailbacks at peak times and that is with every station manned by 'experienced' workers. This is a recipe for disaster with the cultural mix livining within the UAE .
I am a restaurant owner. This is very much a service fee... the same service fee that I used to charge at my restaurant...(for the table and the service) and now no longer legal...how come that Petrol Stations can now introduce this??!?! I don't get it.
ENOC has the right to remove attendants and make pumps Self Service. We as customers have the right to go elsewhere. I have no problem pumping my own fuel provided I can make the process faster by doing so. Unfortunately, I agree with Original Joe that ENOC isn't in this to make this faster or more convenient, rather they are in this to make it more profitable. And so be it...after all, they are a business and businesses need to make money. But, as consumers, we can choose to shop where we want and there are other gas stations to choose from. Not enough, mind you, but there are others.
@ Restaurant Owner, The Service Fee you were illegally charging was a way to line your pockets at your customer's expense. After all, would you have eliminated the Service Fee if I had offered to go into the kitchen and place my order? ENOC is offering their customers a chance to save money by performing the service themselves. You want full service you pay for it. You, on the other hand, were making a nice 10% (or more) margin (irrespective of how high or low your food prices might be).
@ Pundit Have you ever heard of TAKE AWAY food?
Had loads to say but it is not worth it really, because of the shortsightness of people like the Restaurant Owner, but I do have one thing to say. Doesn't anyone remembers a few years back when the "NEW" Expats started floofing the coutry(with their self-service habits) that the petrol station BANNED them from doing so on Safety grounds!!! just check the news papers. This is another case of Monopolies and profit taking pure and simple.