Life on the road in Dubai is not easy for motorists. Roads are constantly being widened, blocked for renovation and there is plenty of building activity that ends up causing detours that can change a 10 minute drive into a journey that takes hours. Parking too is another major issue that can cause unexpected delays. Smart motorists should use all the resources they have at their disposal to make driving and parking easier in Dubai. One new entrant on the scene is Yalla Parking, a startup that, based on the Airbnb model, allows those with available parking spaces and those seeking parking spaces to connect with each other using an online platform. A smartphone app for Yalla Parking is also in the works. Once the site and app are fully functional, they would make parking in really busy areas easier, for a small fee.
In keeping with Dubai’s ambition to become a smart city by 2018, there are plenty of other apps that a smart motorist can use to make driving easier in Dubai. Many of these have been introduced by the RTA (Roads and Transport Authority). The RTA’s new Smart Parking app allows drivers to identify vacant parking spaces in Dubai Mall and multi-level parking buildings. It also allows motorists to pay parking fees without additional charges for SMS. It can even be used for renewal of vehicle registrations and driving licenses, the first such mobile app in the world. Other services offered through the app include updates on details of free parking on public holidays, facility to purchase unique number plates, query and payment of fines and applications to replace vehicle registration card that has been lost.
The Smart Salik App allows users to manage their Salik account through their Smartphone without the need to go to a retail store to purchase a recharge card.
RTA’s Smart Drive application is its most popular app and accounts for more than half of the total downloads. It offers real-time updates on the traffic scenario and advises motorists on the best route to take.
Even traffic accidents have not been neglected when it comes to apps. Accidents are unfortunately relatively common on the roads here and roads generally get blocked while those involved in the accident wait for the police to arrive. This will no longer be the case as a new app will allow motorists to report minor fender benders and continue on their way after getting the police report for submitting to the insurers, in case there is no dispute. Hence, there will no longer be any need to call the police or go to the police station.
The Smart Taxi app helps tourists and residents book taxis, rate drivers, and track the vehicles.
For those who use public transport, the Public Transport app allows customers to check their Nol card balance, follow-up on their personalized Nol card application and to to up their card balance via mPay.
All the apps are available on both iPhone and Android platforms. In future, all apps will be available on Windows and Blackberry also.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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