Not so pumped-up!

DUBAI - The first day of the self-service pilot project at 10 Enoc stations in Dubai and Northern Emirates on Tuesday saw motorists from non-Western countries struggling to fill petrol on their own despite guidance by station staff, while some drove to the stations of other oil companies.

By Aakanksha Singh

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Published: Thu 14 Aug 2008, 1:22 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:03 PM

A source at one of the Enoc stations said that there had been a drop in the revenue since Monday but Khalid Hadi, Enoc Group brand and marketing manager, did not comment on the matter.

Hadi said customers are being educated about the new system. 'Europeans are easily accepting it because they are used to it. People of other nationalities are not that open to the idea.'

As Enoc station employees tried to hide information from the media people, a few motorists gave their quick comments about the new system.

Ameen Shittu, a Nigerian, was among the few who said he had no problem with getting out of his car to fill petrol himself.

Some others were not that supportive. Several motorists were spotted leaving the Enoc stations without filling petrol and driving off to other stations nearby. A visibly annoyed Emirati woman, who did not want to be named, said, 'They may have this system in the US and Europe. This is not the US.'

British national of Pakistani origin Sufeena Hussain agreed with this view and said though several Western countries have self-service gas stations, the situation is different here. They do not have the same harsh weather as the UAE.

Muhammed Tasha and Numan Ali Khan were so enthusiastic about the new system that they drove all the way from Ras Al Khor to Jumeirah to try it out. Muhammed Tasha said, 'The concept of self-service is great but it won't really work like this. The whole process of paying first, filling petrol and then collecting the balance is too long. I'm sure they can improve the system.'

Tasha explained the process: the motorist is first instructed to walk into the convenience store and pay for the amount of petrol he wants; he then fills petrol for the amount paid from one of the pumps. If, for some reason, he does not fill as much petrol as he has paid for, he must return to the store to collect the balance.

He said there must be some incentives for people using the self-service system like a reduced price or credit card slots next to the pumps.

Hadi, however, clarified, 'The petrol prices are controlled by the government policy. We cannot do anything about that. It's premature to judge the success of the system right now. There are people who are accepting the system, reluctantly may be. Gradually, they will get more used to it. It's only a matter of time.'

The next three months will determine the success of the self-service petrol stations in the UAE. Whether Enoc comes out with any incentives remains to be seen.

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