DUBAI // Half of all Uber users in the emirate are tourists, with Jumeirah Beach Residence the most popular weekend drop-off area in the city, according to a study by the company.
The controversial luxury taxi service launched in the UAE in 2013 and has seen rapid growth in popularity, with an estimated two million rides from launch to the end of 2015.
However, it has attracted as much criticism as praise globally, and authorities in China, South Korea, India and France are currently taking action against the company.
“We work within the rules and regulations of the countries we operate,” said Chris Free, Uber’s UAE general manager.
“In Dubai, we only use limousine drivers who have been licensed by the RTA [Roads and Transport Authority].”
Uber does not own the taxis, merely providing the link between customers and drivers through its smartphone app.
The study, conducted by the company between 2013 and 2015, revealed some insights into the travel habits of people in Dubai.
One of the company’s most popular pick-up points was Dubai International Airport and, within, Terminal 3 made up 56 per cent of pick-ups, while Terminal 1 made up 33 per cent of hires and T2 made up 11 per cent. In terms of airport drop-offs T3 stood at 58 per cent, while T1 made up 33 per cent and T2 was 8 per cent.
Other popular pick-up locations were Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and DIFC Gate Village.
And, in general, customers prefered to be dropped off at DIFC Gate Village, JBR, Mall of the Emirates, Ritz Carlton DIFC and The Dubai Mall.
The most popular weekend destination for Uber users were JBR and Dubai Marina, which had 10 per cent more drop-offs than anywhere else.
“That came as a surprise for many of us as we were expecting Downtown Dubai to be the busier area but the marina has really become a place people want to enjoy their weekends,” said Mr Free.
Areas such as Discovery Gardens and Motor City are becoming increasingly popular also, with growth of 45 per cent in those areas, as well as Al Furjan, Dubai Sports City and Business Bay, which each saw 37 per cent growth.
Another finding was that Thursdays were 20 per cent busier than Fridays.
Drivers were at their busiest during the peak hours of 8am to 10am at Dubai Marina and JBR, 4pm to 7pm at Tecom and 6pm to 9pm at DIFC, Business Bay and Downtown.
The company declined to give specific passenger figures.