RTA mulls car rental scheme for metro users

The scheme, when implemented, is expected to lessen carbon emissions, increase the use of public transport and reduce car ownership.

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said that it is studying a proposal to offer rental cars for public transport users, especially Dubai Metro users, to get them to their points of destination.

The Smart Rental initiative is expected to reduce carbon emissions, improve metro passenger numbers and reduce car ownership, the agency said in a statement.

“The gist of the initiative is that a person rents a car for a short period, not exceeding six hours, by using smart 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 and chairman of the board of executive directors of RTA.

“Once the mission is accomplished, the car has to be returned to a specific location nearby metro stations.”

He added that the RTA is looking at three models of car rental scheme.

One of the models under study is where a person will collect the car from a specific location, ideally near a public transport station, and has to be deliver it back at the same location after use.

Another model is where the car will be collected from one location and delivered to another after the owner finishes using it.

The RTA is also studying the possibility of station vehicles, where a number of users will share a ride. Al Tayer said that the agency is planning to offer this project to private firms.

“International practices reviewed by the RTA proved that the Smart Rental model has a host of benefits including reducing the ownership of private cars; where 25 to 71 per cent of respondents refrained from buying new vehicles, and 15 to 20 per cent of them disposed of their private vehicles,” he said.

“Benefits also include reducing the distance covered by vehicles and accordingly curbing congestion as well as carbon emissions. It also contributed to increasing the use of mass transit means by as much as 13 to 54 per cent.”

The RTA conducted a short survey in certain areas to gauge the response to the scheme, Al Tayer said.

Almost 66 per cent of respondents polled welcomed the idea while 80 per cent reported that they would use the cars when provided.

Around 50 per cent also believed that the model will be effective during the users’ shopping trips and during holidays.

Dubai has been trying to wean away its population from using motorcars as it prioritises the development of sustainable transport.

Sustainability is also one of the sub-themes of Expo 2020 and the government is looking to increase public transport options in the emirate.

Last year it opened the Dubai Tram and plans are in place to extend the metro line.

Bicycle tracks are also planned across the city.