Students' developed app offers an affordable carpool option
Dubai - The app allows users to vote on a popular destination and passengers meet in a common spot to travel there together.
A group of students have developed an "affordable and convenient" form of transportation for Dubai residents, which costs as low as Dh14 per ride.
The project is called 'Arcab' and will see a six to nine-month-long pilot test, in partnership with Dubai authorities, where nearly 10,000 university students will take part.
The app allows users to vote on a popular destination and passengers meet in a common spot to travel there together. The transportation vehicle includes a 14-passenger vans.
The co-founder and CEO of Arcab, Bilal Shabandri, said that it's different from a regular carpooling service as his service creates 'hotspots' within Dubai, which help people travel with more convenience and affordability.
"Arcab is a mobility service that is focused on daily commute towards work or university. Right now, the problem is that you have the public transport, but, sometimes it can be time-consuming and congested, especially during peak hours," Shabandri, who is a student at Amity University, said.
"On the other hand, you have private transportation services which are expensive for daily use, especially if you want to go to the same destination every single day. What we do is create communities where people walk to a common point, they get picked up by a premium brand and they get to their destination without any stops in between. The ride starts as low as Dh14 and we have a monthly subscription as well."
The project was developed by Shabandri and his peer Kevin Martin under the guidance of the team at the Amity's Incubation Centre.
The centre focuses on supporting students with their business and tech ideas and turning them into full-fledged start-up companies.
The Arcab team have received several grants and awards over the past year for this business idea and is currently working with authorities in Dubai to test and then launch the service.
"If a student wants to take classes in a university, they have to wake up really early to take the bus. And if they miss that bus, then they don't have much options except taking an expensive taxi or asking their friends," Shabandri said. "Since we have a network of drivers, we can have flexible timings. If your classes are over in the afternoon, you can leave earlier and will not have to wait until evening.
"For a route to go live, we need 25 to 30 people to vote for the route. We ensure there is a demand and would encourage people to share it with their friends so it goes live. We focus on two areas, one is where there is excessive demand for transportation, such as Business Bay."
For the pilot phase, nearly 10,000 students from Academic City and Knowledge Park will be taking part.