Switch to carpooling, capital residents urged

Carpooling website allows commuters to formalise their journey and make it more sustainable

  • Carpooling is the preferred option for quite a few working people in the capital.Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News
  • Suhaib Al Marzouqi, section head for transportation and mobility management at the DMAT.Image Credit: Supplied
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Residents in the capital can make their daily commuting more sustainable and save on fuel costs by simply choosing to carpool, especially as an official service now makes the option easier for them.

The Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport (DMAT), which regulates the municipal and transport sectors in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, is urging residents to make use of its own carpooling website.

Carpooling is the preferred option for quite a few working people in the capital, but most choose to do it on an informal basis with colleagues or people they know personally. Launched about two years ago, very few residents are aware of the DMAT’s carpooling website, www.darb.ae/carpooling, which allows potential commuters to find others travelling on the same route in a safe and easy manner.

“The DMAT has been working with organisations and the community to explore the most suitable and sustainable transport options. Carpooling was shown to be one of the most sustainable options for those who still would like to use private modes of transport,” Suhaib Al Marzouqi, section head for transportation and mobility management at the DMAT, told Gulf News.

“There is quite a bit of informal carpooling among colleagues, family and friends, and the need was identified to develop a platform where people can formalise this option,” he explained.

Because ride-sharing options are limited in Abu Dhabi, many social media groups still see carpooling requests from users on a regular basis. It is this gap that the municipality website aims to fill.

The DMAT’s carpooling tool allows potential commuters to sign up free of cost and create a profile. To do so, they must provide passport, Emirates ID and driving licence details. They can also specify the details of their journey, and log other preferences for a carpooling partner, including gender and smoking habits. Alternatively, a driver can look for other people with whom to share the ride after mentioning the type of the car he drives and the level of comfort it offers.

The website also shows the savings in terms of costs and carbon emissions to highlight the real impact of choosing to carpool. For example, if three people carpool on a 20-kilometre journey to work five days a week, they can save a total of Dh830 in a year. By using one car to get to work instead of three, they can also reduce carbon emissions by 1,248 kilograms per year.

“Apart from these tremendous benefits to the environment, some companies also offer carpoolers corporate benefits like access to VIP parking areas. As we roll out an awareness campaign about the carpooling tool, we hope more companies will get on board to support the imitative,” Al Marzouqi said.

Users can also set up a formal in-company carpooling group using the service, or link with other passengers and drivers from a social group or club. The site also allows users to arrange trips in advance with one another through an internal messaging system.

At present, the website has 181 users, but the DMAT expects the number to increase significantly as more people become aware of the service.

In Dubai, the Roads and Transport Authority launched a similar carpooling scheme called Sharekni in 2008, and a dedicated smart app was introduced in 2015.

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How to carpool in Abu Dhabi

Visit the dedicated website by the Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport: www.darb.ae/carpooling

Sign up and create a profile. You must provide passport, Emirates ID and driving licence details. Registration is free.

You can also specify the details of your journey, and log other preferences for a carpooling partner, including gender and smoking habits.

If you don’t find a ride, you can request an email alert that will inform you when somebody offers a ride on the same route. You can delete the alert as and when required.

Alternatively, a driver can look for other people with whom to share the ride after mentioning the type of car he drives and the level of comfort it offers.

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