RTA launches Smart Car Rental with 200 vehicles

HE Mattar Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), has inaugurated today Sunday (15 January 2017) the Smart Rental Service, the first of its kind in the Middle East. The service enables customers, especially public transport users, to rent cars for short periods not exceeding six hours via smart apps. To do so, RTA has contracted with U drive and ekar companies to operate 200 vehicles (100 each) at a fare ranging from 40 to 50 fils per minute (according to the location of returning the vehicle) i.e. AED24 to AED30 per hour.

In a speech delivered during the service inauguration ceremony, which took place nearby the Dubai Water Canal in the presence of CEOs and Directors, Al Tayer said, “The smart rental service supports RTA’s efforts to bring happiness to people and increase the ridership of public transport means. The service also aims to enhance the integration of mass transit systems through easing the mobility of commuters, especially metro and tram riders, to their final destinations. The service, which is offered to customers starting from tomorrow Monday (16 January 2017), enables the rental of vehicles for short periods not exceeding six hours via smart apps on mobile phones and tablets. At a later stage, the service would be available through the Integrated Mobility Platform in Dubai.

“Vehicles are deployed over 45 locations including five main locations at Dubai Metro stations namely: Rashidiya, Burjuman, Ibn Battuta, Union, and Business Bay Stations. RTA would beef-up the fleet of smart rental cars through a tender, and assess the map for deploying vehicles guided by the results of the initial operation phase as well as customers’ preferences. RTA would also mull the provision of the service using environment-friendly electric or hybrid vehicles,” commented Al Tayer.

“The hourly car rental system provides bespoke alternative transit means for public transport riders in Dubai that goes with their needs and requirements, and offers them access to the best global practices of car-sharing of rented vehicles, besides providing highly efficient and cost-effective transit means.

“RTA had made prior coordination with the Dubai Police General HQ to ensure that the companies licensed to practice the Hourly Car Rental Service satisfy all the security procedures applicable to the car rental system. This includes registration in the Online Information System of Car Rental Offices, and linking their online systems with the information system of car rental offices,” he added.

Mobility Solutions
Vilhelm Hedberg, Co-Founder & CEO of ekar, said, “We congratulate RTA on launching this partnership, which offers Dubai residents and visitors alike absolute driving accessibility.

“As part of our partnership, half of the ekar fleet is deployed around the Dubai Metro stations to provide seamless linking of communities across the Emirate with end-to-end transportation solutions. Through this visionary carshare scheme, we will provide freedom of driving a car without the hassle that ownership gives,” continued Hedberg.

Hasib Khan, Managing Director of U Drive, said, “Car Sharing has developed to a sustainable mobility with a strong growth worldwide. We believe that Dubai’s Smart Vision, the transient nature of life and the overriding costs of car ownership, make Car Sharing an excellent mobility solution.

“For those who don’t want to commit to ownership, or don’t have the need for everyday car accessibility, U Drive makes the perfect option, whilst being also a reliable connector to the public transport. We are pleased to be the first Public Car Sharing provider in the Middle East and to be a part of Dubai’s Smart Vision,” he continued.

Steps of Service Accessibility
Abdulla Yousef Al Ali, CEO of Public Transport Agency said, “The smart rental service is limited to certain areas in Dubai, and is offered via smart apps by two companies: U Drive UAE and ekar. UAE-resident customers should first register in the system to avail the service by entering ID, driving license and credit card details, in addition to a photo of the ID holder (to verify registration in the system). Visitors are required to enter passport, visa, driving license and credit card details.”

“Upon validating the accuracy of data provided, the customer is issued with a Personal Identification Number (PIN), before he or she can enter the user name and password. The customer can now track the cars available and then book one. The car door is opened by clicking an icon in the smart App and is switched on by entering the (PIN) in the device fitted in the vehicle. The vehicle can be locked through the Smart App and parked at RTA’s parking lots only. The bill will be dispatched to customers via the e-system.

Hourly Car Rental Resolution
The Hourly Car Rental Resolution in Dubai Emirate No. 49/2016 issued by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, has specified the obligations of companies authorised to offer car rental services in the emirate. These obligations include observing the licensing conditions & franchise contract signed, providing offices, deploying the minimum number of vehicles, and providing parking lots befitting the nature of the activity, as stipulated in the Executive Regulations. They also include providing guidance & orientation about the terms and conditions of car rental agreement, among others.”

The Resolution obliged licensed companies to use the vehicles in the activity specified in the permit, besides writing the name of the company and the number of authorised riders in a clear & visible manner on the outer body of the vehicle. They must use the parking lots approved by RTA’s Licensing Agency and stakeholders in practising the activity. They must not affix any stickers or promotional materials on the body of the vehicle without a prior written approval from RTA. They must also undertake the annual vehicle registration and insurance, and refrain from renting a vehicle to anyone who does not hold a driver's license recognised by RTA in Dubai.

Under the Resolution, companies are required to maintain records for the movement of vehicles and their locations and prepare data & statistics required by RTA’s Licensing Agency. They must also abide by the fares set by RTA, create periodic vehicle maintenance logs, and register on the Online Information System of Car Rental Offices, which must be linked to the said smart car rental system as per procedures adopted by RTA and the authorities concerned.

Car rental companies are also committed not to rent any vehicle to a user unregistered on the Online Information System of Car Rental Offices, and never assign the permit to a third party or modify it without the approval of RTA’s Licensing Agency. Companies must not suspend the hourly car rental service without approval of the Agency, and never exceed the daily rental period of six hours per day. They must also install GPS vehicle tracking devices, and notify the competent authorities about any actions that may prejudice public security.

User obligations
The Resolution obliges the renter of a light vehicle to abide by the driving & traffic rules in Dubai, use the vehicle as per the car rental contract made with the company, and never exceed the vehicle occupancy rate. Users must report to the authorities concerned all leftovers found onboard, not exceed the allowed period of use, and never allow a third party to drive the vehicle.

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