Car hire in Dubai is experiencing a very modern makeover thanks to the new udrive pay-as-you-go car rental service, which can be booked, paid for and accessed via an app.
The concept, which is already popular in Germany and wider Europe, is a great, fuss-free option for those who prefer to drive themselves but don’t need a car every day, or are fed up with taking taxis. Plus, it’s affordable at just 50 fils per minute for the first four hours and flat day rate of AED120.
We love that the 50-strong fleet of 2016 Toyota Yaris hatchbacks are easy to spot – you can pick them up at numerous places around the emirate (they can also be dropped off for an extra charge, upon request) – and are a cinch to drive. The automatic cars also feature IsoFix points so you can easily secure your child’s car seat, if needed.
There’s no need to worry about running low on fuel as drivers can enjoy free petrol at any ENOC or EPPCO petrol station and free parking across the city thanks to a number of allocated parking spaces at popular points of interest. You can also park the cars in any free parking zone in the emirates (bar shopping malls, TECOM and Deira Fish Market!) or at any paid parking zone or valet, although you’ll be liable for the extra charge. Unfortunately, you can’t just drive it home and leave it there, or it’ll still be considered in your possession. Insurance is covered, although bear in mind there’s a AED1,500 excess to pay if you have an accident (with either a red of white police report).
You can drive the cars anywhere in the UAE but the pick-up/drop-off location should only be Dubai. If you really do have to leave the car in another emirate for any reason, you’ll be charged up to AED400 for it.
To try it out, simply sign up at udrive.ae (you’ll need to upload copies of your driver’s license, passport or identity card and enter your credit card details) then log into the app, which is available via the App Store or Google Play). The app will tell you where the nearest udrive car is parked and, once you’ve reserved or booked it, you can enjoy keyless access via your mobile phone. The nifty technology also allows you to release the key from inside the glovebox. Membership costs just AED20 a month and drivers must be aged 23 or over with at least 12 months’ driving experience.
Those who aren’t as mobile savvy can purchase a membership card, can be used to book by simply holding it in front of the card reader at the bottom left side of the front windshield of the car. The card will also open the car for you.
We’ll definitely be taking the cars for a spin the next time we need to dash across town – would you?