Dubai residents will soon be able to hire bicycles via their smartphone thanks to a new bike-sharing service.
The Roads and Transport Authority, the emirate’s transport body, has signed an agreement with Careem to operate 3,500 bicycles across the city.
In a post on Twitter on Saturday, officials from the RTA said the scheme aimed to “encourage residents, tourists and cycling amateurs to practice cycling”.
The bicycles will be available 24 hours a day via an app, with users inputting a code to release the cycles from their docking station.
“We have signed a contract with Careem whereby the [it] will operate 3,500 bicycles across 350 smart docking stations in Dubai,” the authority said.
Careem will use a smart system to "track bicycles, predict high occupancy areas, and connect all bicycles through GPS", RTA said.
The bicycles will be introduced across key areas of the city including Dubai Marina, Jumeirah and Dubai Water Canal.
Additional bicycles and docking stations will also be added in old Dubai including Deira, Al Karama and Al Qusais.
The new service will be introduced in two phases. In the first two years, Careem will operate 1,750 bikes and install 175 solar-powered docking stations.
In the following five years, the number of bikes will grow to 3,500 in total, with an additional 175 docking stations added to the network. The environment-friendly bike-sharing service is expected to run for 15 years in total.
Mattar Al Tayer, the director general of the transport authority, said the initiative came following direction from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, as well as Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the Crown Prince of Dubai.
He said the move would turn the city into a “pioneering bike-sharing destination”.
“It helps people to pursue an active lifestyle and enhance mobility options,” Mr Al Tayer said.
“It also contributes to RTA's efforts to enhance the integration of different transit modes and provide solutions for the first and last-mile challenge enabling public transport riders to reach their final destinations.”
Mudassir Sheikha, co-founder and chief executive of Careem, welcomed the move and said cycling helped ease "road congestion” and promoted a more healthy lifestyle.
“We are thrilled to roll out the first product for micro-mobility in Dubai with our trusted transit partner, RTA," he said.
“Careem Bike offers mobility means to riders of buses, metro and tram in Dubai, covering the first and last mile of their journey.” The price for bicycle hire has not yet been revealed.