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KT test drives RTA's Smart Rental Services

KT test drives RTAs Smart Rental Services

In its initial stage, the smart car rental operates only within the boundaries of Dubai.



By Angel Tesorero

Published: Tue 17 Jan 2017, 5:47 PM

It was rush hour. Traffic was not moving on Shaikh Zayed Road and we're late for our assignment. Easy solution: We ditched our car and took the metro.
First problem solved but there was another issue: we were still four kilometres away from our destination; we couldn't find a taxi and it would take some time for the feeder bus to arrive. The event was about to start.
Good thing, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) just rolled out the Smart Rental Services on Monday, which enabled customers, especially public transport users, to rent cars for short periods.
We made a prior booking via the smart app and a car was waiting for us at the metro station. It was brand new and quite spacious for the three of us, including our equipment.
We took the car, drove to our destination and only Dh7.50 was deducted from our credit card (cheaper than taking a taxi, which would normally cost us around Dh12) because we used it for only 15 minutes, including the time we spent looking for an available parking space.
And we did not pay for parking, it was inclusive of the rent. We made it just in time for the event.
Based on our experience, booking a car was easy. Here's the step-by-step process how we've done it:
1) First, we downloaded the app on our smartphone (you can also register through their website - www.udrive.ae and www.ekar.ae)
2) We submitted details of our Emirates ID and driving license (for tourists, a copy of passport with visa and entry stamp is required). We also submitted a selfie holding a copy of our Emirates ID (or driving license)
3) We received an activation mail with our username and password. We gave our bank details and we were charged 1Dh as registration fee. The approval process was less than a couple of hours, after verifying that our details were up to date.
4) We used the app to locate the nearest car, it was a Peugeot 208 (other cars available are 2017 Nissan Tiida, Sentra and Toyota Yaris). The app also mentioned that the car was 68 per cent on fuel level.
5) After ticking off a short checklist (if the car has any prior damage, cleanliness of the car, etc.) we reserved it. (Note: Sean Fuller, general manager of ekar, said: "Make sure the car is in good condition and report any damages. For issues, call 800myekar or email help@ekar.ae")
6) We unlocked the car through the app by entering the PIN (personal identification number) sent to us. There's also a membership card available for purchase to open the car by swiping it on the windshield.
7) After opening the car, a voice prompt instructed us to get the car key from the glove box. We entered the PIN to release the key from the smart key holder and started driving the car.

In its initial stage, the smart car rental operates only within the boundaries of Dubai. Two hundred cars were deployed on Monday by the two private companies - U Drive and ekar - contracted by the RTA. These were distributed in over 45 locations across the city, including some metro stations and the five main hubs for the car-sharing service: Rashidiya, Burjuman, Ibn Battuta, Union, and Business Bay metro stations.
Pros
Pay as you drive, price inclusive of parking fees, insurance and fuel cost
24/7 access to brand new fleet of smart cars.
Stationed at convenient locations across Dubai, visible on the App or online map
Cons
Dh20 monthly registration fee (U Drive is offering no membership fee for one month and one hour free at first registration while ekar is waiving the monthly fee for the first two months.)
Car rental is for maximum six hours per day
Not available outside Dubai 
Charges
Two variables:
a) return the car within range where you picked it up
b) return and park it at any RTA parking slot.
U Drive charges by the minute - 40 fils for variable A and 50 fils for variable B. ekar Dh24 per hour for A and Dh30/hr for B
angel@khaleejtimes.com


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