UDrive and Ekar pay-per-minute rental car services launched in UAE

UDrive and Ekar pay-per-minute rental car services launched in UAE

Two new rental car services have been launched in the UAE that offer a by-the-minute payment option if you don’t need a rental car for the whole day.

Both smartphone app-based services, UDrive and Ekar both offer essentially the same deal, sprinkling their marked cars around Dubai (mostly near RTA Metro stations) and some in Abu Dhabi that can be reserved and used for as long as you need it, for a maximum of 6 hours. Beyond that, it is generally cheaper to get a traditional rental car for the whole day.

Strictly speaking, only UDrive offers true pay-per-minute payments, while Ekar forces you to pay by the hour, although both offer similar rates.

If you’re taking a one-way trip, the rate is 50 fils per minute, but is reduced to 40 fils per minute if you are taking a round trip and returning the car to where you started off from. Ekar charges Dhs 30 for one-way and Dhs 24 for a round trip (and their site mentions a third option at a rate of Dhs 6.5 per minutes).

Interestingly, free petrol fill-ups, insurance and an A-code parking card are included. However, you will be slapped with admin fees on top of any fines or damages you may incur, as well as if you leave the car unlocked, drain the battery, spill your coffee inside or lose the keys. Salik costs Dhs 5 per crossing. You also have to pay for parking in places like TECOM and Deira Fish Market, where the A-code card is invalid. There are also fines for keeping the car longer than 6 hours.

Each outfit also charges a Dhs 20 monthly membership fee, although both have offers running currently that waive the fee for a month or two and/or offer free minutes of drive-time.

Both offer basic cars, with UDrive having a fleet of Peugeot 207s and Toyota Yarises, while Ekar has Nissan Tiidas, Sentras and Jukes. However, the GPS-based technology for unlocking the car is pretty high-tech, all accomplished using your phone.

UDrive had launched late last year first, but had to suspend their services due to regulatory hurdles. But both UDrive and Ekar are now fully approved by the RTA. Each outfit currently have a hundred cars.

These are great services that cut down on taxi costs if you cannot bear the pace of the crowded Dubai Metro and have to get somewhere quickly. Obviously they don’t make much sense if your job involves driving around all day, or if the monthly membership costs exceed your potential use as a temporary ride while your own car is in for servicing. But otherwise, as long as the cars are stationed near your home or office and you don’t mind battling the streets behind the wheel, this is definitely the wave of the future for those who have no interest in owning a car.

You can find more information about both on their respective sites at udrive.ae and ekar.ae, as well as their apps.

What do you think?



  1. Used Ecar on last weekend, i picked up car new Mall of Emirates and used just for drive towards Abu Dhabi, returned after short stopover at “the Exit”…car was in good condition ( just 43 kilometer on ODO), parked near the same place and was charged for 3 hours.

    No hassle in locating car, easy to park in same or around that place.

    good solution for short-term rental.

  2. It still does not discourage from owning a car. Maybe cheaper than a taxi, but why should one when they have a driving license not own a car rather?

  3. Its a rip-off………

  4. Is it the same price if picked up from areas near the airport

    • Author

      It should be, since it can only be parked at RTA parking lots, which are not on airport grounds.

      • I believe ekar has dedicated spots at the airport you can pick up your car as well as leave it there. All other RTA parking spaces are free parking.

  5. If we have e Kar or udrive car for more than 6 hours so what will happen or they will chareged for the whole day

  6. I used eKar and Udrive for a good period of time, in summary eKar trying to position themselves as luxury car rental but comon, using MG cars is luxuries!

    I really think they’re really bad and trying to charge more on customers compared to Udrive. They add fees and charges on everything you do. and they worst thing is that your credit card is linked to that account so they are taking the money even if you say no or yes they are hustling you.

    does anyone agree that Udrive is better than ekar? or its just me

  7. used ekar on 3 occasions. They show u that its 0.7 fils/min but when u book. they wiil charge u more for booking and insurance. So its not 0.7fils x whatever time u travel. there are some extra charges also.

  8. I wants to go from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. Is that possible to get the car and what is the cost

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