Dubai: Flashy green cycle stands have cropped up in many Dubai neighbourhoods ahead of the launch of a bike-sharing service that is charged at less than Dh2 a day with annual membership.
Residents in some Dubai communities, where the Careem Bike stands have appeared in the past few days, told Gulf News that they can’t wait to ride the cycles that look “cool and smart.”
Careem Bike is the first bicycle-pool project in Dubai for which Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) partnered with car-hailing company Careem which ventured into micro-mobility space with the acquisition of Cyacle Abu Dhabi.
While the official launch of the 24/7 service is expected to be announced soon, Gulf News can reveal details of the rental charges and how the bike-sharing system works.
These pedal-assisted bikes using electric motors can be rented through an app called Careem Bike. You can select a station, identify a free bike, rent it, and pick the next station for docking. The bikes can be taken from any station and returned to any station in the Careem Bike share system.
Users have to create and log in with a Careem account and choose a yearly, monthly, weekly or daily membership plan.
There are four membership options, which can be availed through card payment, to choose from.
The annual membership is for Dh420 (less than Dh2 per day), monthly for Dh75, weekly for Dh50 and daily for Dh20.
A rider can take as many 45-minute trips as needed while the membership is active.
An extension fare of Dh10 for every additional 30 minutes applies when the rider extends the trip beyond 45 minutes a day. A trip ends when the bike is docked.
Careem Bike will operate 800 bikes, located at 80 docking stations at launch. It will scale up to 3,500 bikes, located at 350 docking stations in key areas around the city in the next five years.
The zones in which the service is coming up are Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Al Barsha, The Greens, Internet City, Media City, Palm Jumeirah, Deira, Downtown Dubai, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai Canal, Karama, Mankhool and Al Qudra.
Indian expat and Karama resident Thara Thankachan said her son was excited ever since the road markings for cycles started coming up in their neighbourhood.
“He said it is going to be easier to cycle around Karama. But when we saw the new cycle stands, we realized that there is a new rental service coming up. Now he wants to know when he can start using it.”
She said the family now wants to know further details. “When we went for a walk last night, my daughter was so keen to check out the details written over there. We wanted to know how much it costs and how far and in which all areas we can ride these cycles. Anyhow, it is great to see Karama becoming cycle-friendly.”
She said the move will help tourists also, especially when Dubai will see more of them visiting during the Expo 2020.
Twitter user @ameedqutob couldn’t wait any more and took to the microblogging site to ask @CareemUAE how people can use Careem Bike and he also enquired about the launch date for the service.
Replying to him, @CareemUAE posted: “Unfortunately, this exact date is yet to be confirmed. But we can assure you that it will be sooner than you think.”
Nisha Rajesh, a resident of Dubai Marina, said she was thrilled to see the bikes docked near the Dubai Marina Tram station near her apartment. “I have used a similar service in my hometown Mumbai. I am excited to see these cool and smart bikes here in Dubai. Waiting to try them out soon,” she said.
‘Easy to use’
According to Careem’s app, these bikes are “super easy to use.” “Instead of twisting or pressing a throttle to activate the motor, you can just start pedalling and the motor will power up automatically. The bikes also have the gears of pedalling speed and were designed with comfort in mind so you don’t need to be a professional cyclist or an athlete to use them,” the company app said.
Anyone over the age of 15 can ride these bikes and riders have been advised to wear helmet and reflective vest for their safety.
“Each bicycle comes with a loud bell, several reflectors and self-powered LED lights, so the bike is easily seen by cars and other cyclists,” Careem said.
Bikes are locked into a docking port and can only be unlocked by scanning the QR code or entering a 5-digit code on the keypad on the dock.