UAE fuel price hike spurs residents to ditch cars, embrace e-scooters

Residents say travelling by e-scooters has saved them time and money

By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Fri 11 Mar 2022, 4:16 PM

Last updated: Mon 14 Mar 2022, 12:26 PM

Scores of UAE residents are ditching their fancy cars to hop on to public transport and e-scooters to commute to work and pleasure

Many say the recent fuel hike has motivated them to embrace public transport — even if it means commuting for hours.

Indian expat Abbas Hussain who commutes for two-and-a-half hours to travel more than 100km to and fro to work and home using a combo of Dubai Metro, bus and e-scooter, has no complaints despite the long journey. Previously he would spend the same amount of time while travelling in the ride-sharing service by car to work and back home. “It took over one-and-a-half hours to travel by car after the driver dropped off the other passengers,” he said. “In the evenings, it was even more time-consuming. I have even saved money after switching to the e-scooter,” he said.

Hussain who works in Al Quoz said he leaves his home in Mirdif at 9am to reach his workplace by 10.30am. His trip begins on his e-scooter, which he takes to the nearest bus station about 2km from his residence. He takes the bus to the Centrepoint Metro station - which takes him about 25 minutes. Hussain said his overall commute, especially on the Metro, is a smooth one. “I get a place to sit (on the Metro) because mine is the first station on the red line. And after I get down at Al Safa Metro station, it takes me about 10 minutes to reach office by my e-scooter which i carry in the Metro.”

Hussain, said he saves time and money and feels happy that he is doing his bit for the environment by opting for a more sustainable mode of transport. Another perk of the e-scooter, Hussain says. is that he doesn’t have to worry about running out of juice; he can simply charge his e-bike right by his desk at office.

Ugandan expat Adam Ssanyando says he relies entirely on his electric scooter to get to work. Ssanyando works at a government facility as a security supervisor, which requires him to rotate shifts. That, he says, was the main reason for opting for a personal mode of transportation.

“Earlier, I faced problems commuting to my workplace, but it has all become a smooth ride now,” he said.

Ssanyando, who lives in Deira, used to walk or take a taxi to his workplace, since it was challenging to travel by Metro or the bus due to the inconvenience and also the Covid-scare.

“The distance from my residence to my workplace is about 10km. With my e-bike. I take about 20 minutes to reach work,” he said.

Though his commute might get tougher in the summer months, Ssanyando said he plans on getting a head or handle mount to plug in an umbrella. “I know it will be difficult for me in the summer to commute by scooter for about 20 minutes, but there are a lot of options to cover yourself to beat the heat,” he said.

He says, travelling by e-scooter is way cheaper than travelling by ride sharing or taxi, for which he would’ve had to spend about Dh200 every month. And since he would be late on many occasions he would have to spend on taxis. “Now, I am saving about Dh400 to Dh500 every month with this sustainable commute,” he said.

Demand soars for e-scooters

Over the last few months, demand for e-scooters has surged, and wholesalers and retailers are expecting further rise in the coming months.

Aladdin Akrami, a retailer of e-bikes and e-scooters, said sales have hit the roof over the past couple of days. “What we must understand is that people prefer cycles over e-bikes,” he said. “Cycles have become a part of the commute, as well as a means to attain physical fitness. But 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.”

Akrami said he has seen over 70 per cent in e-bike sales. “I realised it may have been because of the fuel hike,” he said.

He said people prefer lighter e-scooters. “They come in various forms and specifications. But people prefer lightweight ones with batteries that last longer so they can carry it to their workplace or wherever they are going,” he said.

E-scooter riders must follow safety tips

Dubai Police have urged cyclists and e-scooter riders to wear a proper helmet and reflective jacket, especially when biking near highways.

Bright white and red reflectors must be installed on the front and rear end of the bicycle or e-scooter. The police have also said that riders should also abide by the paths designated for this type of transport

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