Sharjah: An app-based car-sharing service with a per-minute rental of 50 fils is now available in Sharjah and will soon expand to Abu Dhabi and Northern Emirates.
Launched by Udrive, one of the two firms offering the service in Dubai since January last year, a fleet of 100 vehicles will be operating in Sharjah offering smart rental services.
Udrive began with a fleet of 100 cars in Dubai and has now expanded to almost 300 vehicles, including the Sharjah fleet, reflecting the growing popularity of the car-sharing services.
“The demand is very high for car-sharing services. At the moment we have 600 trips per day in Dubai, which means six different people are driving a particular car per day on an average. If these people were not sharing a car they would be driving six different cars adding to the congestion on roads. This has helped in reducing congestion and pollution enormously,” said Haseeb Khan, CEO and founder of Udrive.
The rental service in Sharjah will work on the same technology that is available in Dubai, however, the Sharjah service will work on a different price scheme.
“In Sharjah the service will be available at 50 fils per minute and drivers can pick the vehicles from anywhere in the city and drop it wherever they want. However, after four hours the drivers can use the cars for free for the next 20 hours,” added Khan.
The scheme includes free fuel, insurance and parking anywhere in Sharjah, with a 150 kilometres driving limit per day.
However, as many people would love to have, the Dubai and Sharjah services are not linked, which means a car picked in Sharjah cannot be dropped in Dubai or vice versa.
“We know that customers would love to have the facility of picking a car in one city and dropping in another. But we don’t have it right now as services in both the cities operate on different schemes, with Dubai not having a cap of four hours, while Sharjah has a four hour cap and the rest of day is free,” said Khan.
Following expansion in Sharjah, Khan is now planning to expand in the Northern Emirates and Abu Dhabi, where the car-sharing facilities will be available shortly.
“We are currently working with the authorities in the capital and the service will be rolled out soon in Abu Dhabi. We will have a fleet of around 200 cars operating in Abu Dhabi,” added Khan
Khan said that the market in the Northern Emirates and Sharjah are similar and the next natural step is to expand further north.
“We have done our studies in the Northern Emirates and we see that the market is similar to Sharjah. We have also seen a lot of interaction between Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah, so we are planning to have connected service, which will allow people to pick a car from Sharjah and drop anywhere in the Northern Emirates or vice versa,” said Khan.
Catering to a different segment, Udrive is also launching a premium service soon with a fleet of 50 luxury vehicles including various models of Mercedes Benz and BMW.
“We will soon start a trial with 50 luxury car that will cost around 80 fils per minutes or Dh200 per day including fuel, free parking at zones A, B, C and D as well as insurance,” said Khan.
He added that for the premium cars there will a cap after four to five hours to make it more economical for the customers.
Car-sharing services are available 24/7 and can be rented at a location nearest to a driver via the Udrive app or website. Once registered, customers can unlock cars through their smartphones and drive off.