Udrive to launch pay-per-minute car rental in Saudi Arabia

The Dubai start-up will begin the service in Riyadh and plans to add it to other cities

DUBAI , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES , AUG 20  – 2017 :- Car from UDrive short term rental car services parked near the Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. ( Pawan Singh / The National ) Story by Adam Workman
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Udrive, Dubai's pay-per-minute car rental platform, is set to extend its services to Saudi Arabia.

Founded in January 2017 in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, Udrive raised $5 million this year as it sought to expand across the Mena region and Turkey.

Its first city in Saudi Arabia will be Riyadh, with plans for fleets in Jeddah and elsewhere in the kingdom next year.

Nicholas Watson, co-founder and chief executive of Udrive, said: "We believe our car-sharing model will reduce commuting costs for residents, tourists, students and start-ups while supporting the nation’s long-term development goals by reducing vehicle emissions and decreasing pressure on infrastructure.

“As more businesses open offices in Saudi Arabia, we see an increasing appetite for car rental services ... there is also a growing passenger car market among a population where more than half are under 25, that is moving from ownership to usership."

Udrive has tripled its fleet since earlier in the coronavirus pandemic and is set for triple-digit-percentage growth in the region during the next 12 months, Mr Watson said.

Users will be able to drive for 0.60 Saudi riyals ($0.16) per minute or 130 riyals ($34.58) per day — up to 200 kilometres.

Car-sharing apps that allow customers to rent a vehicle by the hour, or even the minute, have been growing in popularity. The pay-by-use model helps drivers to save on insurance and maintenance costs, and car loan repayments.

The number of car-sharing users is expected to reach 60.7 million by 2026 from 48.5 million in 2022, according to Statista.

The main difference between Udrive and traditional car rental services is that Udrive cars are fitted with an Internet of Things device that can remotely open, lock, monitor and disable car use.

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Updated: August 08, 2022, 12:34 PM