The capital isn’t short of options when it comes to getting around the city (or to the surrounding Emirates), whether it’s your own car, public buses, taxis or even by bicycle.
But there’s a new player in town looking to get you from A to B: pay-by-the-minute car hire. Available in the capital for over 18 months now, are these nifty cars being utilised?
And who exactly is it aimed at? We take a look at this service and just how it might benefit you.
What is it?
By-the-minute car sharing aims to be a flexible and convenient way for drivers to get access to a ride whenever, wherever the need it.
Like renting a car, the service lets you choose from different makes and models, but you can choose from long-term hires for several weeks, daily hires or even pay by the minute.
It’s the 21st century too, so naturally this new service is in keeping with the times: bookings are done through the app, which is even used to open the car.
Where do I start?
It’s best to know your providers first. Abu Dhabi is currently home to Udrive and ekar, and you can get things moving by going on their website or, like most of their customers are doing, download the app (available on both android and iOS).
Then, you simply register your valid driving licence, Emirates ID or passport and pay a small joining fee (around AED 1) before waiting for your account to be activated, which could just take a few minutes.
If you are not a UAE resident – for example, you’re visiting the UAE to see friends and family – you simply need a valid driving licence and to be over 21 years old.
Once you open up the app, you can locate and reserve a car. Cool geeky tech alert: the app opens the car where you’ll then find a device with the car keys in, to which you’ll enter your unique pin to access. And then, you’re off!
What’s the deal?
The main idea of this service is that you’re able to be as stringent as possible when it comes to how many minutes/kilometres you drive.
Furthermore, those who rent such a car – to which there are a variety of models at different price brackets – won’t have to worry about paying for car maintenance, fuel or parking; this is covered in your minute-fee, which starts at 0.6 fils and 0.7 fils for ekar and Udrive, respectively.
Each provider offers minute, daily, weekly and monthly pricing options, which could be one of the main attractions for those in the country on vacation, or even those due to be leaving the country who have recently sold their permanent car and need a vehicle without ‘ties’ to the country.
What else do I need to know?
Both ekar and Udrive’s websites have an extensive and well-answered list of FAQs. But it’s worth highlighting that you can have your pet in the car, but in a carrier, and smoking is not allowed. If smoking has taken place in the car, or pet hair/odours are found, an excess fee will be applied.
Each company is proudly family friendly and advises you to bring your own booster/car seat if your little ones require it. The cars also run on regular petrol, however there is plenty of talk of electric cars being available in the future.
With cars popping up around town and the service becoming more popular, we’re expecting to see additional companies rolling out more options very soon.