Dubai: Why parents are increasingly using taxis to drop children to schools

RTA has quadrupled the number of cabs used for the dedicated drop-off and pick-up service

by

Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Wed 5 Apr 2023, 1:24 PM

Last updated: Wed 5 Apr 2023, 3:18 PM

For parent NG, when his freelance projects started picking up, school runs became a hurdle to his workflow. “I couldn’t pick my son up from school without stressing, so I needed a reliable backup solution,” he said. That is when he turned to dedicated taxi services provided for school students.

“In my case, the school transport would take much longer than a Careem ride to get back since we are not close to the school, and now, I use it almost every workday,” he said.


Despite using school buses or their cars being the most popular mode for students to get to school, an increasing number of parents in the UAE, like NG, are opting for taxis to get their wards to schools.

According to figures revealed by Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to Khaleej Times, there has been almost a four-fold increase in the number of vehicles for their 'In Safe Hand' service, which was launched a few years ago.


“We began with 60 vehicles and now we provide the service through more than 225 vehicles,” said Abdulla Ibrahim AlMeer, Director, Digital Transformation & Commercial Department, Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC). “This indicates that there is a strong and growing demand for this service.”

Demand

According to the DTC, one of the reasons of this increasing popularity is because of the limitations of school bus services. “The service was developed as a unique transportation solution for school commute by applying the best international practices and studying the needs of its customers and especially those locations which are not covered by school bus transport,” said AlMeer. Recently 'In Safe Hands' was added to the list of services provided on the DTC App, making it easier for parents to book it.

This increase in demand prompted Careem to launch a similar service in collaboration with the RTA. “Parents in Dubai have very limited options when it comes to their kids' transportation,” said Antonio Alasmar, GM of Careem in UAE. “This service was launched to provide parents with a more flexible and convenient option for their kids' school rides.”

According to Alasmar, the service is extremely popular “We are getting between 15-20 enquiries on a daily basis just amongst our own user base,” he said. “We have a 45% renewal rate but are still in the early stages of the product and expect this number to grow."

The service will soon be automated within the Careem app, where users will have the option to choose ‘School Rides’ directly through the app, similar to what the RTA has done.

Factors

Some other reasons why parents choose such dedicated taxi services is because of the convenience and flexibility.

“Long bus trips cause children to waste time in transit,” said Alasmar. “Families can enjoy their mornings together with the option to book the rides exactly when they need it versus being rushed into catching the bus at the allocated time. Also, the ability to change pick-up/drop-off locations while booking the rides adds a layer of convenience.”

Moreover, Careem also allows carpooling of up to four students travelling to the same school from the same pick-up vicinity

According to AlMeer, the service is mostly ysed by school and university students across Dubai with many parents choosing to book the service monthly in order to guarantee the schedule they want.

For In Safe Hands service, the opening meter tariff is Dh25 Flag fall , and the kilometre tariff is Dh3.56 (changeable review every 2 months)

How to book

Currently parents can apply for the In Safe Hands service by downloading DTC app and they have to fill the following details in order to register and activate the service:

  1. service delivery site
  2. Period of service
  3. Duration of Service
  4. Trip type
  5. Service user data
  6. Guardian data (if their age less than 13)
  7. Payments methods

For Careem, parents can book the service on the app and the cost will depend on the location and kilometres travelled.

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