Rent-a-car for just 50 fils in Dubai?

 

Udrive
Udrive

Dubai - Following launch of Udrive app in Dubai recently, Khaleej Times gets answers to questions people still want to know.

by

Kelly Clarke

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Published: Fri 25 Mar 2016, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Feb 2023, 4:17 PM

So we've all heard of the new mobile application 'Udrive'. Since launching in Dubai just over a week ago, the pay-as-you-go car rental service has garnered over 2,000 users. According to the apps tagline, the service lets you drive 'anywhere, everywhere' for just 50 fils per minute with all your insurance, petrol and parking fees included. But what exactly does that mean?

With lots of unanswered questions on the lips of many since its launch, Khaleej Times digs a little deeper with Udrive's Managing Director, Hasib Khan, to shed some light on the subject.


How it works

Citing customer 'convenience' as its most important asset, Udrive's self-drive service allows customers to reserve and rent a car through their phone.


Contrary to the traditional rent-a-car approach, Udrive vehicles are strategically placed around the city so renters can access them more easily - "within a five to 10 minute walk or drive", Khan said.

But at a time where residents in Dubai are being urged to use public transport more frequently, how 'convenient' is it to the environment?

"Udrive will actually help reduce emissions on the road," he said.

"This service allows several people to share one car over the space of one day."

It's the sustainable alternative for people who can't always get the bus or metro to their required destination, he added.

"For instance, the user can pick up the car, drive to work, then instead of leaving the car sitting at work all day, another user can utilise that same car instead of filling the road with an additional vehicle."

A form of extended carpooling service, Khan said Udrive is definitely an environment-friendly approach to getting around the city.

"If we share cars like this for the daily work commute and errand runs, that is a lot of emissions saved."

And UAE-based Eco-tourism Operator Moaz Sawaf agrees.

"I think this sounds like an excellent solution. Especially in the UAE where public transport is still gaining legs."

The non-committal Udrive user:

British expatriate Samantha Jayne Lockie wants to know where the cars are located without signing up to the Dh20-a-month service. Can she?

Hasib Khan said Udrive is fully aware many residents do not want to commit to the service before using the app, so they are working on a 'guest sign in' service for one-off users, to identify the locality of cars.

The Udrive supporter:

Expatriate Jamie Wilks is all for the service. For him , the economics are "pretty straight forward".

"There are thousands of people in Dubai who can drive but either can't afford a car or chose not to buy or rent a car for various reasons. A big one being lack of parking spaces. It's miles more economical for people and the environment to use this service versus owning a car."

Already a big concept in the US and Europe, he said he is surprised it has taken so long to get here.

The Udrive fence sitter:

Expatriate Paul Ransted wants more clarity on issues surrounding damage liability.

"Salik, speeding fines, parking fines, cleanliness of the vehicle, insurance. How does it work?"

Users pay for Salik and speeding fines - that will be billed to their account.

The non-committal Udrive user:

British expatriate Samantha Jayne Lockie wants to know where the cars are located without signing up to the Dh20-a-month service. Can she?

Hasib Khan said Udrive is fully aware many residents do not want to commit to the service before using the app, so they are working on a 'guest sign in' service for one-off users, to identify the locality of cars.

The Udrive supporter:

Expatriate Jamie Wilks is all for the service. For him , the economics are "pretty straight forward".

"There are thousands of people in Dubai who can drive but either can't afford a car or chose not to buy or rent a car for various reasons. A big one being lack of parking spaces. It's miles more economical for people and the environment to use this service versus owning a car."

Already a big concept in the US and Europe, he said he is surprised it has taken so long to get here.

The Udrive fence sitter:

Expatriate Paul Ransted wants more clarity on issues surrounding damage liability.

"Salik, speeding fines, parking fines, cleanliness of the vehicle, insurance. How does it work?"

Users pay for Salik and speeding fines - that will be billed to their account.

You can park your car for free around the city at all RTA public parking spots except in Media City, Internet City, Knowledge Village, Tecom and Deira Fish Market and inside the shopping malls across UAE. However, the team is currently working with authorities to establish exclusive Udrive parking spots at 'points of interest' across the city.

In response to cleanliness and damage, before the app sends a signal to the satellite to "lock or unlock a car at the beginning or end of a trip", the user will be asked two questions about damage and cleanliness.

"If the user flags a problem a customer service agent will call to try and alleviate the issue. They will either give the driver the go ahead if damage is minor or send a new car to the location," Khan said.

But like in any situation, the police should be called when an accident occurs.

All cars will be fully insured but in the case of damage being misreported or occurring when a vehicle is stationary, the driver will only be liable if it is provable they are to blame.

"In cases of small scratches etc, we will cover those if it is not at the fault of the driver."

The first-time Udrive user:

A Udrive user for nine days now, Ali Farrag said the Dh20-a-month fee is worth every fil.

"People compare this service to Uber and Careem, but it's not a taxi service, it's a rental service."

And what is the one thing every car rental service wants here? A security deposit.

"Normal rental security deposits are a lot more than Dh20. My friend had Dh5,000 held off his card once. That doesn't happen with Udrive. They deduct Dh1 to verify your credit card and once approved that is refunded."

Since launching on March 15, Farrag has driven to and from his home in Tecom and his work in Media City everyday. The trip has cost about Dh5 each way.

"That is cheaper than a taxi and each day I've walked no further than one roundabout from my apartment. On the first day there were four cars in the area and since then there has always been one available for me."

He said this "shared-transport approach" acts as an incentive to leave your car at home for basic commutes.

What the competitors say about Udrive:

"We don't see Udrive as competition, but in fact complementary to Uber's services as part of a wider city transportation network. Users have more choice in how they get around the city and can use Udrive in ways different to Uber - Uber

"We are excited to see more technology-enabled solutions entering the transportation landscape in UAE. We are targeting different use cases and think that the services are complementary - Careem

"Public transport is convenient but it takes time to get from A to B. Once a user's journey is over another user can utilise this car. That's one car instead of two on the road!"

On the face of it, Sawaf said Udrive appears to be adding more cars on the road, but essentially, it is offering up the chance to "reduce the number".

Currently, with a fleet of 50 cars under its belt, this is expected to increase to 100 over the next "three to eight weeks".

And expansion across the UAE is definitely on the horizon for Udrive, Khan said.

With a maximum charge of Dh120 per day and the promotion of shared transport becoming a "habit", it seems convenience for the customer is convenient for the environment after all.

kelly@khaleejtimes.com

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