Abu Dhabi: A popular car-sharing service that launched in Dubai last year is now available to motorists in Abu Dhabi.

Udrive on Tuesday launched a fleet of 100 cars, following a permit issued by the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport, which regulates transportation in the emirate.

Motorists in the capital can now download the Udrive smartphone application, or register online, to view available cars in the vicinity.

“We have spread the cars across the city, from the Corniche to Musaffah and Etihad headquarters. After registering, motorists can pick up any car near them, drive to their destination and leave it behind,” Haseeb Khan, chief executive officer and founder of Udrive, told Gulf News.

As in Dubai, the rates stand at 50 fils per minute plus VAT and is capped at Dh135 if the journey is under 220 kilometres. If the drive exceeds 220 kilometres, every additional kilometre is charged at 50 fils. Fuel, car insurance and Mawaqif parking fees are waived for customers and handled by the company.

Until Thursday, using Udrive cars in Abu Dhabi will be free as long as the journey time is kept under four hours.

“Our services have proved extremely popular in Dubai and we’ve recorded 150,000 rides since our launch. We have 25,000 registered customers and our cars have seen 100,000 hours of usage,” Khan said.

He added that the service offers flexibility to users, who range between 23 and 45 years of age.

Customers need to just register their details, including Emirates ID, driving licence and credit or debit card details, to gain keyless access to Udrive vehicles.

At present, the Abu Dhabi fleet consists of economic four-seater cars, including Toyota Yaris, Peugeot 208, Nissan Tiida, Nissan Sunny, Ford EcoSport, Ford Figo, Chevrolet Spark, Chevrolet Aveo and Kia Picanto. About five per cent of the vehicles are electric. Asked about comparability, Khan said the daily rate is similar to rates provided by regular car rentals.

“But when you look at the per-minute rate, Udrive is much cheaper. For instance, a half-hour drive to your workplace will cost just about Dh15, which is even cheaper than taxi fares,” Khan said.

For the moment, motorists can use the cars around Abu Dhabi. But in about a week’s time, they will be able to pick up a vehicle in Abu Dhabi and leave it in Dubai or Sharjah for an additional fee.

In future, Udrive plans to introduce other kinds of vehicles to assess customer demand for them.

“We are also working on doubling our fleet in Dubai,” Khan said.

Udrive services

Pick up and drop off across the city

Customers need to register with Emirates ID, valid UAE driving licence or international driving licence recognised in the UAE, and credit or debit card.

Rates: 50 fils per minute plus VAT for journeys below 220km. After 220km, an additional 50 fils per kilometre is charged.

Smartphone application available on App Store and Google Play, or customers can register on Udrive website. The application shows available vehicles in the customer’s vicinity 24 hours a day.

Keyless access can be gained through the application, or using an optional personal membership card.