Motorists dilly-dally on carpooling app

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Motorists dilly-dally on carpooling app
The carpooling app will allow people to apply for the relevant permits, search for other passengers commuting along the same route, and also displays drivers and passengers on a map.

Dubai - Real potential of Sharekni app expected to be known when traffic regularises after Ramadan and school reopening

by Dhanusha Gokulan

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Published: Wed 15 Jul 2015, 1:42 AM

Residents of the UAE are slightly relieved at the prospect of flexible travel options, with the introduction of a carpooling app, However, doubts are being raised over the number of motorists who will make use of the Sharekni app and participate in a drive to reduce the number of cars on the roads.
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) launched the smart app on Saturday with an aim to reduce the traffic congestions on the roads of Dubai.
Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the board of executive directors of the RTA, has said: "Benefits of the system also include easing the psychological and physical pressures of the motorists; which in turn will contribute to raising productivity, and creating a bond between community members."
Meanwhile, commuters opined that the real potential of the app would only be realised after Ramadan and when schools reopen after the summer holidays.
At present, people depending highly on private cars and usage of group transport at seven per cent are causing the traffic congestion.
Curator of the Twitter handle @TrafficDxb Javed Khamisani, who alerts drivers of traffic jams and accidents across the emirate said: "Traffic as of now is down because of the school holidays.
A lot of people are out travelling for annual vacations and accidents are mainly happening because of Ramadan."
He added: "Overall the number of cars on the road are increasing. New cars are being registered everyday as it's easier to get financed.
"So keeping that in mind, an app like this is beneficial to reduce overall congestion and pollution. That is only if people start using the app."
Khamisani suggested that once the schools reopen, the actual traffic situation in Dubai and Sharjah can be estimated.
The carpooling app will allow people to apply for the relevant permits, search for other passengers commuting along the same route, and also displays drivers and passengers on a map.
A resident of Abu Dhabi and banking professional, Mohammed Zahid, said: "It is a good concept to save fuel, and wear and tear of car, which affects savings. In addition to saving fuel, it could reduce carbon emissions from vehicles and create a healthier environment."
He added: "In terms of safety, RTA obtains the information of each driver / passenger but only time will tell how safe it is in the long run.
"Still there is no surety whether the driver will ask for cash in return for the service. We need to see how RTA reacts to such complaints."
He also suggested that every new concept has some good ideas and drawbacks.
"The application is still not available on BlackBerry platform, which is largely used by professionals. Majority of sharekni users will be working class," added Zahid.
Ben Varghese, an Indian, said: "The initiative is great though it needs some kind of improvement. However, it is just the beginning. I will definitely try Sharekni out."
The present rate of private car ownership in Dubai is as high as 541 cars for every 1,000 person with an average number of passengers in each car as low as 1.3 people.
The annual increase of traffic expenses is at Dh4.3 billion and Dubai population is expected to rise 296 per cent by the year 2020, which may bring the number of private cars to1.5million.
For more details on the app, check www.

Dhanusha Gokulan
Dhanusha Gokulan

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