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Sun 31 Aug 2008 02:27 PM

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Motorists 'disappointed' at pumping own petrol

Response towards compulsory self-service petrol stations 'mixed', says ENOC manager.

The response of Dubai motorists towards pumping their own petrol has been “mixed”, a spokesperson for energy group ENOC admitted on Sunday.

Khalid Hadi, group brand and marketing manager for ENOC and EPCO, told Arabian Business some motorists have been disappointed, following the introduction of self-service petrol stations on August 12.

Compulsory self-service is underway at three sites in Dubai, and seven in the northern emirates, in an ENOC initiative aimed at keeping up with international trends.

“We will decide after the two month trail whether the campaign has been successful or not, but so far we have received a mixed reaction. There are people who are really happy with it, and other people, especially local ladies, who are really disappointed and say they will try other service stations,” Hadi said.

Hadi said some people enjoyed the novelty of filling their own vehicles.

“The interesting thing we have found through our feedback is that people from Europe, the US, and the Far East really understand the self-service concept. But unfortunately the people who are living in this region are not really used to it and we believe there is going to be some resistance. But I’m sure gradually people will see the benefit in the long-run.”

Hadi said at the end of the trial period, around October 12, a decision would be made on whether self-service will be rolled out to all ENOC service stations.

Employees were not facing the loss of their jobs, he added, with surplus staff being transferred to 10 new ENOC service stations which are set for construction. The staff would be employed within the various other vehicle services offered by ENOC.

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Jad Aoun 12 years ago

"Hadi said at the end of the trial period, around October 12, a decision would be made on whether self-service will be rolled out to all ENOC service stations." So all stations will become self-service? OK, but then... "Employees were not facing the loss of their jobs, he added, with surplus staff being transferred to 10 new ENOC service stations which are set for construction." So this means that not all stations will be self-service? Or is it that only a portion of the pumps will be self-service? And if that is the case, would 10 new stations be enough to absorb the redundent staff?

Joey 12 years ago

Are people really so lazy? I didn't believe so until I read this. How completely ridiculous. No wonder there's such a problem with obesity- they can't even be bothered to stand up and fill the car. If it's not lazy, perhaps it is arrogant. Are they above filling up a tank? Must these people sit in the A/C while a "minion" does another petty task the driver deems himself too regal for?

Pravin Madhavan 12 years ago

What are they trying to establish or achieve by introducing this? Maybe this works in the US and UK and is successful. But in such climates, and that too asking the vehicle owner himself to get out of his expensive car / 4WD / Limo is just a bit too much. Do you think the rich people that Dubai has will accept this?? What if they do not have drivers, and what about the modern women, locals as well as expats??? I would not get out of my car if I were on my way to an important meeting and I'm dressed up for that session. What will happen to those gas filling attendants working there ? Go back home??? It's not fair. I always thought they are trained to perform this job as there is a lot of safety involved in fuel business. I am sure companies like Shell would never opt for such a move, where safety is first !

Clinton 12 years ago

I don't mind self service, but in the summer months and when i'm wearing a suit and not wanting to be sweaty arriving for a work meeting, i'd like the option to have my car filled. Why not charge for the service - say 5dhs? Then if people are truely bothered by self service they have the option. From what i've seen in the media it doesn't appear that the petrol stations are approaching this from a customer perspective.

Ariah 12 years ago

"But I’m sure gradually people will see the benefit in the long-run.” What are these benefits?

Kenneth 12 years ago

It is not about being lazy, it is about comfort. Service is about comfort too and that is one of the main characteristics of Dubai. If you can afford comfort, why not have it? I can't get service in Europe no matter how much I am willing to pay for it. If it wasn't for its art, history and culture, I would just stop going back... When it is hot and uncomfortable out there and I would rather stay in my car and let someone else do it for a tip. I don't understand why Joey has a problem with that but that leftist view of the world is what did away with good service in Europe and the main reason why I left Europe too. Please Dubai, don't follow that example.

Ashley 12 years ago

For most of us, its not the case of filling your own petrol, but more of how much of time goes in standing in the queue to pay for it, fill up and then go back for the change. It certainly needs more than just letting people do their own thing, if the stations do not come up with a better process, people would still be skeptical to embrace having to do things on their own, and paying an extra price for it, on the other hand, should we not be spoilt for choice like we are in this part of the world, then situations would definitely speak for itself.

BV 12 years ago

Yes indeed they are too lazy and too proud, not to forget mentioning dangerous. They think filling up their own petrol tank is well beneath them and that of course there should be a slave to do it for them. You can't seriously expect a local 'lady', who is busy checking her make-up and chatting on the phone while keeping the engine running so as to not have to turn off the A/C, to get off the phone, turn off the engine (as is actually a legal requisite), get out of the car, handle those awful bowser pumps and fill the car up themselves with that awful smelling petrol?!? Shock horror! Now they may actually see what these poor petrol station attendants have to put up with all day, everyday at the whim of the lazy and dangerous Dubaian (and yes, that includes a lot of the expats!). And I say dangerous, because it still amazes me how many people just keep their engine running while getting the car filled... this is ILLEGAL people... and very dangerous. So, let's all stop complaining, be a little bit thankful for the motor skills that we have (not car skills people... the capability of getting out of our car and physically filling the tank ourselves), and alleviate some of the slave labour in this country! Oh, and Jad, the people that are getting transferred will be filling other roles in the 10 new ENOC stations such as car-washing, shelf-stacking, general maintenance, till attending, etc. All the other jobs that non-locals also do as the local youth is too up itself to get up and earn a fil or two.

Arif 12 years ago

Attendants were getting some tip from people like me, which they will not be getting anymore and that small tip makes big difference in their life. Lazy, well - we will not get any healthier by just getting down from the car to fill gas – for Obesity you need to do some good work out. And it’s not arrogant – many a time all of us are in a rush, filling on your own tank will take some extra time we can save. It should be optional to fill your own tank or get it filled by an Attendant. It’s not the question of lazy, arrogant and obesity – a different (my point) of view.

Jan 12 years ago

I have serious doubts if this new system is properly thought through. Just take one example. My wife drives up to a pump with our 6 month old baby in 48 degrees summer heat and switches the engine off as required. She gets the little one as she can't let it in the car for obvious reasons and goes into the station and pays. Than she goes back to the pump and starts filling. Nevermind getting the hands full of petrol but non of the pertol stations I have seen suck up the pertol fumes (like you see at all pumps in northern europe where it's a legal requirement). So our little one will be exposed to a considerable load of pertol fumes as she can't go back in the car either which by now has an unbearable temperature. oh, now my wife needs to get some money back...so 'quickly back into the petrol station...where is that receipt??....may be the attendent can hold our baby for a second...... Let's face it, it just does not work because it's like a lot of things in Dubai not well thought trough. I think it's brilliant costumer service to have an fuel attendent and an absolute necessity for at least 4 month a year. If ist desired by some customers like 'mr lazy' make some pumps self service and fit them out with proper devices and the possiblity to pay by CREDIT CARD at the pump. that way it may work.