A motorist refuels at a self-service Adnoc station in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Adnoc Distribution is giving a crash course to their customers on self-serve counters in the capital since the new system was introduced at 40 odd petrol stations. However, Gulf News has found that the response from people is mixed, with most still sceptical and concerned about the change.

Speaking to Gulf News, motorists said the new options are inconvenient and many motorists are apprehensive of the Smart Tag system, which aims to make refuelling and payment easier for self-serve customers.

“It is a learning experience at the moment for me but at peak hours it will be a worry, especially because everyone is not going to get a hang of things straight away. To avoid the ordeal, people will end up paying that little extra and that’s what they want,” said Ramesh S, an accountant.

“Yes, people are reluctant to step out and try self-serve, especially Emirati customers. So it looks like it will be the expats who will opt for self-service to save that extra money,” said a petrol pump attendant on condition of anonymity.

Yes, people are reluctant to step out and try self-serve, especially Emirati customers. So it looks like it will be the expats who will opt for self-service to save that extra money.”

 - Petrol pump attendant

The new refuelling options were first introduced at select stations in April, with some queues being dedicated to self-serve, and others labelled Premium, where an attendant ‘pumps the gas’.

This attendant assistance will eventually become a paid service. Customers, however, feel that there are fewer self-serve lanes at petrol stations than premium ones, which will end up creating long queues and delays once the new refuelling options are fully implemented at petrol stations.

“If you don’t have time, you are forced to shell out Dh10 even though you are willing to step out of your car and refuel on your own. In addition, there have been instances where I have driven into the premium queue because it’s simply not something I notice yet. Nobody here at the petrol station told me about the Smart Tag system either,” said M.Q., a long-term resident of the capital from Bangladesh.

The Smart Tag installation to the nozzle of the car’s petrol tank is an initiative by Adnoc Distribution to make payment easier for self-serve customers. The tag can be installed by booking an appointment and visiting one of three petrol stations in Abu Dhabi city and one in Al Ain.

P. Prakash, area sales manager with a retail chain, has already had the Smart Tag for a month now, and he said he was quite happy with the option.

“I found it quite easy. I have downloaded the app and installed the Smart Tag from one of the petrol stations. It’s like paying the Salik, you put in a certain amount and it gets deducted after every refuel. So far, using it has been hassle-free for me,” he explained.

Adnoc Distribution has already announced that more than 141,000 Smart Tags have now been fitted into vehicles across the country, including 29,500 since Adnoc Distribution launched a free giveaway.

“We’ve had a remarkable response to our Smart Tag Installation programme. Our customers have been keen to embrace smart tag technology, which makes refuelling quicker and easier. [We have] invested in this technology to improve our customers’ experience and I’m confident that, over time, Smart Tags will also help to reduce congestion by speeding up the refuelling process,” said Saeed Al Rashdi, acting chief executive officer at Adnoc Distribution in a release on June 10.

Still, not everyone is convinced. An Emirati homemaker said she was even thinking of taking her maid along when she needed to fill up.

“It’s hot and inconvenient, so maybe I’ll just ask my maid to help me out if at all I want to use the self-service option,” she said.