Rent a car by the minute? Vehicle-sharing app rules announced in Abu Dhabi

ekar and Udrive are the current service providers in the emirate

Car-sharing app ekar provides very short rentals. Photo: ekar
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Car-sharing apps that allow customers to rent a vehicle by the hour or even the minute have been growing in popularity.

Now, Abu Dhabi has outlined regulations for operators of the apps in the emirate.

The Integrated Transport Centre of the Department of Municipalities and Transport in Abu Dhabi announced the rules covering car-sharing apps, which rent vehicles on a short-term basis, for no more than six hours a day.

The use of car-sharing apps, which do away with the need to own a car, has been on the rise in recent years.

Users can rent vehicles via the app by the minute, by the hour, weekly or long-term, 24 hours a day. The app shows users where the closest car is.

The pay-by-use model of car hire saves drivers on costs of insurance, maintenance and car loan repayments. They're also viewed as a viable alternative to ride-hailing services such as Careem or Uber.

In the long term, they help reduce traffic congestion and pollution due to the cars they replace on the roads.

In Abu Dhabi, ekar and Udrive are the current service providers in the emirate.

“This service acts as an encouragement to society, motivating users towards using smart transport methods and contributing to the reduction of private vehicles possession, which in turn, reduces traffic congestion and maintains a clean environment,” the Integrated Transport Centre said.

“It is also an opportunity for visitors, tourists, and businessmen to move from one place to another in the emirate with ease.”

In the regulations outlined by Abu Dhabi's transport authority, new operators must first gain approval from the Department of Economic Development and permission from the centre.

The centre will issue a permit to the service provider and all vehicles used for rental must be licensed by it.

Drivers who rent the cars should have a licence, be registered on the car-sharing app and adhere to traffic laws. The vehicle can be driven only by the registered user.

The Integrated Transport Centre has outlined the clauses, provisions, conditions and the schedule of violations on its website.

Updated: November 22, 2021, 12:45 PM