The pay-per-minute car sharing app service ekar, which is based in the United Arab Emirates, has expanded its service across the country.
The service, which offers affordable, efficient and convenient short-term driving solutions, has launched in Sharjah as of 23rd December, and has 200 cars available in the emirate.
Over 15,000 of the company’s existing active user base of 100,000 live in Sharjah and make use of ekar when in Abu Dhabi or Dubai, according to the CEO of ekar in the Middle East, Vilheim Hedberg.
The expansion of ekar services into Sharjah means that those users will now be able to use the service within their own neighbourhoods, Hedberg notes.
For the low price of AED175, a Sharjah-Abu Dhabi Commuter Package is also being introduced by ekar.
This package will include the likes of free fuel, free mileage, free comprehensive car insurance, and free parking when a vehicle is being picked up and dropped off between these cities.
There are currently 50,000 bookings made every month with ekar, but this number is expected to quadruple next year as services expand into Saudi Arabia and further across the UAE, says Hedberg.
The company has been increasingly successful because of the Gulf’s increasing demand for cost-effective transport solutions.
Back in June, a $17.5m Series B round being led by Polymath Ventures was closed by ekar with participation from Audacia Capital and Al Yemni Group.
Last month, the UAE firm launched new operations in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia with as many as 600 vehicles and is intending to do the same next year in other Saudi cities such as Dammam, Mecca, King Abdullah Economic City, Jeddah and Medina.
The total fleet count of ekar is expected to become more than 10,000 vehicles over the course of the next three years as the company expands across Egypt, Turkey and the GCC.
The Sharjah launch also sees ekar offering every new user an extra AED50 of free credit when the promotional code EKAR50 is applied when registering.
The promotion is set to remain valid until the beginning of next year.
ekar was the first car sharing platform in the Middle East and remains its largest, with users given on-demand access to a network of more than 1,000 vehicles through its mobile app.
Users can pick up and drop vehicles off at any time and any place, while still paying considerably less than the cost of a taxi or ride-hailing service.
The pricing structure of the company is flexible, allowing users to pay by the week, the day, the hour or even the minute, and prices start as low as just 60 fils per minute.
The offering of car insurance is important because it is a legal requirement for everyone who drives any form of motor vehicle in the UAE.
Basic third-party car insurance is very important as it protects drivers financially in the event that they have an accident that damages other vehicles.