Dubai Metro connectivity gets boost as e-scooters now allowed on cycling tracks

Life has become much easier for thousands of commuters who had to huff and puff their way home or to office



Photo by Rahul Gajjar
Photo by Rahul Gajjar

By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Thu 14 Apr 2022, 6:33 PM

Last updated: Thu 14 Apr 2022, 6:36 PM

E-scooters and e-bikes have been around for some time now, but have caught on big time in recent months as more people get to grips with the super cool and convenient last-mile connectivity option.

Add to that their ease of use and accessibility, their compact size (they can be folded up and carried on the metro or bus) and of course their affordability, and you have a champion mover for commuters between Metro/bus stations to offices and homes.

Of course, there’s no stopping some who even use these wheelies to go the distance, with some going as far as 50km each day to work and back.

Now that these machines are available on rent, life has become much easier for the thousands of commuters who had to huff and puff their way home or to office due to limited last mile connectivity options.

Shuaib, a resident from Abu Hail who travels to Dubai Internet City daily for work, said the option of having cycling tracks in his office area have come as a boon for him and his colleagues.

“My office is in a an area where there is no easy last-mile connectivity option by tram or bus. So, for me the best way to reach office is use the Metro and then hop on to my e-scooter,” said Shuaib. “Since I work in sales, my work involves a lot of travel to nearby areas. When I need to travel to localities in the vicinity such as JLT and Marina, my e-scooter is just perfect,” added Shuaib.

Dubai is set to launch e-scooter license permits by April end and users can apply for the free permit on the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) website. The process involves attending training courses and passing an online test.

Bahvik Shah, another e-scooter enthusiast who commutes short distances on his beloved ride, hailed the move by the authority to allow e-scooters on permitted cycling tracks in 10 districts across Dubai.

The diamond merchant who recently moved to Dubai, said now it takes just three minutes to reach office against 15 minutes earlier by walk. Watch him speak about his commute below:

“The fare is calculated on the basis of minutes, and I can say it’s not all that cheap. But the monthly packages are affordable where I can get access to 200 minutes for just Dh90,” said Shah.

The best part of hiring these bikes is that you can park it anywhere once you are done.

The Indian expat is planning to buy his own e-bike given the rise in e-bike friendly zones.

E-bike rentals

E-bike rentals have come up in multiple locations across the city. A number of e-bike stations can be found in JLT, Marina Business Bay, The Palm West Beach, Damac Hills etc. The cost of hiring e-bikes varies depending on different operators, but is usually Dh1 per minute with an unlock fee of around Dh3.

Jaideeep Dhanoa, co-founder of Fenix e-bike rental service said that they have been getting good response from commuters at The Palm West Beach and Damac Hills. “Everyone across the city has got used to adopting e-scooters.

“The RTA has created a promising framework to expand access to the service which is much more affordable now.”

Here's a look at the Fenix e-scooters:

Dhanoa said it’s a great way to connect people with public transport and short distance trips. “At Fenix we charge Dh 1 per minute without any unlock fee. This is because for people who usually take short trips of 3 to 5 minutes, the unlock fee works out to be more expensive. We also have other payment plans to serve our clients.

Surge in e-bike sales

In the past few months, demand for e-scooters has surged, and wholesalers and retailers expect the demand to rise even higher in the coming months. Some have recorded over 70 per cent rise in demand for e-bike sales and believe that the soaring fuel prices may be one reason.

“People are dependent on micro-mobility for short travel and e-bikes are the best option in any weather, especially given the harsh summer in this region,” said Aladdin Akrami, a retailer of e-bikes and e-scooters.

He said sales this year are at an all-time high. “Cycles are not for summer months, so people prefer e-scooters. The sale of these products increases in the beginning of May, but this year, it has already increased by March,” said Akrami.

Zones:

> The initial phase covers:

> Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard

> Jumeirah Lakes Towers

> Dubai Internet City

> Al Rigga

> 2nd December Street

> The Palm Jumeirah

> City Walk

It also covers safe roads and tracks within specific zones at Al Qusais, Al Mankhool, and Al Karama

It also covers 167km tracks designated for bicycles and scooters across Dubai, excluding those at Saih Assalam, Al Qudra and Meydan

Techinical specs

> Riders must wear reflective vests and helmets; avoid carrying pillion riders or anything that causes an imbalance. They need to maintain safe distance from other vehicles and pedestrians.

> Technical specifications applicable for e-scooters and bikes include white headlight, red and reflective lights on the rear; a horn fixed on the steering arm (T-bar); brakes on the front and back tyres; tyre sizes proportional to the size of the scooter; and roadworthy-tyres for tracks specified by RTA.

> Additionally, the size of the scooter must be proportional to that of its rider.

> Significant modifications to the bike is not permitted.

> The RTA called on residents to select high-quality e-scooters to avoid battery burn accidents and frequent technical malfunctions.

Riding regulations

> Accidents must be reported to the police, ambulance or the RTA.

> Cyclists and bikers should always ride on the right hand side of the road. Before changing their lane, they should give hand signals and ensure they can make their move safely.

> They should ride in the direction of traffic and not against it.

> Riders below 16 cannot ride e-scooters

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ayaz@khaleejtimes.com


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