Dubai: Applications from thousands of motorists, who wanted to share their cars with friends and colleagues, have been turned down, due to the strict policy adopted by the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

Only 108 permits were issued in the first month of the campaign launched in July 2007 while 4,286 people applied for the service, Gulf News has learnt.

So far less than 200 permits have been awarded in the first six months of legalising the car pooling service while around 8,000 people have applied for the permits, according to sources in the RTA.

The RTA launched the car pooling service "Sharekni" (share your car) campaign in the city that has 920,000 registered cars in July last year to eliminate illegal taxis "smuggling passengers" in private cars. But the results have been discouraging so far, said an official.

Although RTA launched massive campaigns to promote the service, the strict regulations left thousands of motorists intending to share their cars driving alone to their workplace as they did not want to risk heavy fines after failing to get "permits".

The fine for illegally sharing a car is Dh5,000. More than 16,700 were fined in 2007 while the fines dropped to around 5,000 in 2008.

Sources said thousands of applications were rejected because of pressure from taxi agencies, who fear a reduction in the number of passengers if more permits are issued.

"I applied for the permit at least twice but my application was rejected for no reasons," said K.M., a motorist, who does not want to be identified. He said he wanted to share his car with his neighbours but now four of them drive separately from Sharjah to Dubai. "We could have used one car, had we got the permission," he said. He does not share his car now fearing the fine.

"The idea behind the car pooling service was to encourage motorists to share their cars between their homes and workplaces without fear of getting fines but it seems that it has fallen flat," said another resident who also failed to get a permit.

A motorist, who intends to share a car with friends or colleagues must register the car with the RTA.

After registration, the motorist gets a certificate. But the names of the persons sharing the car should be furnished at the time of registration to avoid a fine. A maximum of four people will be allowed to share a car.

"Why should I give details of 'four' people sharing my car? What if someone else whose name is not in the list is found sitting in my car? This is really scary and discourage many more like me from getting this permit," said Salman Hakeem, a resident of Al Quoz.

  • 920,000 cars registered in Dubai
  • 8,000 applications for car pooling scheme
  • 16,700 fines imposed for illegal car sharing in 2007

Have you been given a car pool permit? Was it difficult to acquire it? Fill in the form to send your comments.

Your comments

I am unable to understand this policy of RTA. There has to be an easier way to stop illegal taxis than by asking people to register for car pooling. Perhaps, the taxi drivers who refuse to carry passengers should be dealt with severely. Car pooling is a very effective way of cost-cutting and preventing greenhouse effect.
Gautam Kapoor
Posted: January 29, 2009, 14:40

I fail to understand why I cannot take my neighbor or friend with me to work and vice versa? It is my car and I am not making money on it as it is just social service and helping people around you know. Why do I have to pay for it? Why?
Usman Saeed
Posted: January 29, 2009, 12:38

The car pool system is pretty strange here and I am amazed why this is discouraged? What if friends decide to go for an outing and take a car to save on costs and carbon footprint? Or take a colleague back from work late evening?
Posted: January 29, 2009, 12:35

Car pooling should be freely permitted, even if one has to take a stranger. Only one condition should apply, strictly no commercial deals.
Stanley Cherian
Posted: January 29, 2009, 12:34

Can somebody tell me what is car pooling? If a colleague of mine is staying next to my home and does not have any conveyance, can't i take him to the office everyday?
K. Nayyar
Posted: January 29, 2009, 10:53

I still do not understand why car pooling needs a permit.
Posted: January 29, 2009, 10:37

What if I wanted to drop off a friend somewhere? Would I need a permit for that as well?
Posted: January 29, 2009, 10:10

They want four names? I may provide the names of my roommates but what if my parents visit Dubai or any of my relatives come? They will definitely travel with me. Will I be fined because they were with me in the car and I didn't mention their name during the time of registration?
Mohammad Fahad
Posted: January 29, 2009, 10:06

I have applied for a permit to share my car with three of my neighbours and the permit was approved in the same day. This seems to be very useful.
Posted: January 29, 2009, 10:05

The authority should allow car pooling without registration and without names of passengers. I think the percentage of illegal taxis are less against percentage of people who want to share car. To reduce both pollution and traffic congestion, the authorities should open up car pooling.
C D. Patel
Posted: January 29, 2009, 09:28

Why should people even have to register in the first place if they want to take other people to work? These people should be congratulated not fined. How else is the traffic congestion going to be reduced?
Posted: January 29, 2009, 09:21

I work in shifts and sometimes I drop my colleagues on my way home. Everyday there are different shifts and of course different colleagues so that means I cannot provide names of staff who will be sharing my car. At work colleagues help each other and get things done by team work, so if a colleague asks me to drop her or him home at 11pm, how can I have the heart to refuse? While registering for the car pooling service Sharekni, the site asks for the area of pick up and drop up, I think this is a very discouraging thing as well. Instead, the RTA inspectors should see if the passengers in the car belong to the same company by viewing their labour card.
Mohammad Viqar Sharif
Posted: January 29, 2009, 09:15

What if I want to offer a lift to my friends who are visiting the country? Or some of my business assosiates visiting the country? Do I need to get the permit and add their names? It sounds real strange to me.
Anwar Karakulangara
Posted: January 29, 2009, 09:11

What are taxi agencies afraid of? I noticed that they are only found in front of shopping malls. They do not have any part in the commuter's life.
Posted: January 29, 2009, 09:10

I do not understand a simple thing. What if someday my friend's car is not available and they decide to travel with me just for that particular day and I get caught and fined for car pooling, does this make sense? According to me, this will not reduce traffic.
Posted: January 29, 2009, 09:06

In many countries, car pooling is always encouraged, as it will minimise the use of cars which causes pollution, saves the environment in general. They even provide special road lanes for cars with two or more people inside. Why does it seem like a big problem here?
Moeni P. Paras
Posted: January 29, 2009, 09:05

The idea of car pooling should be encouraged to reduce traffic conjestion. But having these conflicting policies will not do any good to the situation. Car pooling should be left free for the choice of the people, and I hope authorities wouldencourage it.
Munir Shanavas
Posted: January 29, 2009, 08:59

I still do not understand why u need permission to give your friends a ride! There should be less complicated ways to weed out illegal taxis.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: January 29, 2009, 08:52

I strongly believe that if a person is paying for his or her car then they should be allowed carry their friends and people they know. By encouraging car pooling, we could also cut down on two major problems: Emission of green house gases, thus helping the environment, and leaving a big positive impact on the economy, as people and companies could save on gas in these turbulent times.
Posted: January 29, 2009, 08:49

My colleagues applied for a car permit so that the four of us, who had separate cars, would just share to reduce traffic, polution, as well as office parking space. He was rejected for no reason. Another colleague applied, same thing happened so we did not pursue another two applications. Now, we are still doing 'alternate' driving but no permits, which means we are doing it illigally.
Jerry Selayro
Posted: January 29, 2009, 08:48

I was looking for a car lift and tried to apply online but could not fill up the application form due to some error on RTA?s website. I tried calling RTA customer service and explained to them the situation. They advised me to send an email to them. Now, it has been more than eight months and no one has responded to my email. I continue to travel by bus.
Posted: January 29, 2009, 08:37

Why should people have to register just to car pool to go to work? In other countries this is not the case, in fact they have separate car pool lanes to be used between the normal working hours and the lane cannot be used if the car is not carrying a passenger.
M. D.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: January 29, 2009, 08:34

What is the purpose of this whole process? If the intention is to reduce traffic congestion and to cut down on illegal taxis and to encourage car pooling - reduce taxi fares, allow 'official' shared taxis and increase public transport.
Rao Pm
Posted: January 29, 2009, 08:20

I got registered in September 2008 through Sharekni, the online service. I wanted to carpool with my office colleagues, but somehow, I never received the registration confirmation. But on the other hand I started receiving requests for car pooling, through emails sent by RTA, even though I mentioned names of three of my colleagues in the registration form. In absence of the registration certificate, I do not feel comfortable sharing my car as in any adverse eventuality I won't be able to prove my registration. Can the RTA clarify this situation?
Tanveer Zaidi
Posted: January 29, 2009, 08:13

A permit to carpool? Why? If I decide to give my friends a lift to work I can get fined? Surely thats my choice, it is my car, my friends, my choice, right? Am I missing something here?
Derek Dredger
Posted: January 29, 2009, 08:07

At least, the people who live in the same buildings or work in the same offices should be allowed to share. Because now a days, taxi drivers are the decision makers where we want to go.
Posted: January 29, 2009, 07:56

Car pool is the only way to reduce traffic congestions for hours, especially in the monrnings. I hope RTA gives more permits to promote sharing. I do not think new bridges and roads are the ultimate solution. Car pooling would make thousands of people's lives easier.
Posted: January 29, 2009, 07:28

The regulation requiring people to give the names of people in the car is too strict.
A. F.
Posted: January 29, 2009, 02:38