Dubai’s road and transport authority looks into car rental initiative

The benefits of the programme, RTA said, could include reducing car ownership and carbon emissions, and increasing public transport usage.

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DUBAI // The Roads and Transport Authority is weighing up the benefits of introducing a smart car initiative where people can rent vehicles at the touch of a button.

“The gist of the initiative is that a person rents a car for a short period, not exceeding six hours, by using apps on mobile phones or online, and the vehicle will be collected from a public place without involving employees in the process,” said Mattar Al Tayer, director general of the authority.

“The car has to be returned to a specific location near metro stations.”

The smart cars initiative would be beneficial in three areas, RTA said. It would increase public transport usage, reduce car ownership, and minimise carbon emissions.

“The RTA is mulling three models of smart rental,” Mr Al Tayer said. “The first is two-way rental model where a person will collect the car from a specific location and the car has to be returned there.

“The second is a one-way rental model, where a car will be collected from one location and delivered to another. The third model is station vehicles, where a number of users will share the same vehicle.”

A study carried out by the authority to gauge public interest showed promising results, he said.

“The RTA has commissioned a questionnaire covering about 1000 samples to figure out places and scope of the anticipated demand for the smart rental model in the Emirate of Dubai.

“Results showed that about 66 per cent of respondents welcomed the idea, and 80 per cent of them said they would use the cars when provided. It also showed that 50 per cent of respondents believed that the model is highly relevant to shopping and visits during holidays.”