The Middle East’s first pay-per-minute car rental service has launched in Dubai, almost ten months after the plug was pulled on a similar scheme.
RTA bosses announced that the so-called Smart Rental Service would allow drivers to book cars using an app on their smartphones or tablets for up to six hours at a time for between 40 and 50 fils a minute, or Dhs24 and Dhs30 an hour.
Car rental companies UDrive and ekar will operate 100 vehicles each as part of the new project, with pick-up points in 45 locations across Dubai, including five main locations at Business Bay, Rashidiya, Burjuman, Union and Ibn Battuta Metro stations.
The RTA said it was considering using electric or hybrid vehicles for the new service, which it hopes will not only prove a cost-effective alternative to car ownership but also reduce congestion caused by single-passenger cars on our roads.
“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,” says HE Mattar Al Tayer, RTA’s director general.
Time Out revealed in March 2016 that a similar scheme ran by UDrive hit the buffers just two weeks after it was launched due to problems with the pay-per-minute service.
However, we will all soon see the Smart Rental cars hitting the streets as the project revs up from January 16.