New rent-a-car service brings the car to a place near you

New rent-a-car service brings the car to a place near you

To use the service, customers will need to visit udrive.ae and complete a registration form / Image Credit: Supplied

The next time you want to rent a car in the UAE, it might just be parked outside your building — and you can pay for it by the minute.

Udrive, which launched in the UAE on Tuesday, is a service that allows customers to reserve and rent through a mobile app. The cars are not picked up and dropped off at a central location; instead, vehicles are stragetically left around the city so renters can more easily access them. Drivers can reserve and unlock the car using a mobile app.

Hasib Khan, managing director of udrive, said that he saw demand for the service in the UAE, where many people travel a lot or live for a short period of time and prefer not to own a car.

''When you go for a contract for one or two years, you don't usually go and buy yourself a car,'' Khan said by phone.

''You have in the UAE, for example, thousands of Emirates airline crew... they are not here every day... it's cheaper for them to use the car whenever they need it,'' he added.

Car-sharing services have grown in popularity globally over the past decade, including Zipcar in the United States and GoDrive in the United Kingdom. Instacar launched in Dubai in November last year.

udrive charges drivers 50 fils per minute. To drive for over four hours, one will need to pay Dh120 for the rest of the day. Insurance, petrol and parking fees are included in the rate.

Once customers are done using the service, they can leave the car parked at their destination for the next driver to use.

Khan said he invested Dh3.7 million in the company using his own funds.

Expansion

The company is looking to offer its service in other emirates like Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, which would require an investment of Dh30 million-Dh40 million, Khan said.

The company is also interested in expanding into Qatar, Oman and Bahrain, he added.

Udrive has a fleet of 50 2016 Toyota Yaris hatchbacks from Al Futtaim Motors. Based on market demand, it is looking to grow its fleet to 200-300 cars over the next six to 12 months, Khan said.

How it works

To use the service, customers will need to visit udrive.ae and complete a registration form, providing basic information like name, age and address, then upload a copy of their driving licence, passport or Emirates ID.

After submitting their registration form, they will receive an email with a link that will redirect them to a page where they will need to enter their credit card details. Mashreq bank, udrive's payment partner, is able to view this information, not the company.

Next, drivers will receive an activation email with their udrive pin code. Once they download the app, they will see a map of Dubai and cars available in their location.

After reserving a car, they will need to choose Start Direct on the app and answer a few questions on the cleanliness and damages on the car to open it.

To remove the key, drivers will need to take the udrive terminal from the glove box and type in their udrive pin if requested.

After using the service, customers can park the car and choose an option on the app to end the trip. They will receive an invoice from the company stating the time they spent driving and the amount charged.

Customers must pay a membership fee of Dh20 to use the service.

Compare car rental vs. buying one in UAE

Source: Sarah Algethami, Staff Reporter, gulfnews.com