There were a few e-scooter companies that launches in the emirate of Dubai in 2018 and early 2019. One of them was KIWIride that launched in February. And just a month after its launch, it was forced to take its e-scooters off the streets as ordered by Dubai Police and RTA citing reckless riding behaviour exhibited by some.
That was mid-March, which also saw the ban come in place in Abu Dhabi. However, e-scooters are convenient, and increasingly popular for commuting short distances not easily accessible by public transport.
In a test programme, Abu Dhabi has legalised e-scooters in the emirate to combat traffic congestion.
However, it has done so with strict regulations. The e-scooters can only be operated on pedestrian and cycle paths on the Corniche and Khalifa Street in Abu Dhabi. Moreover, the speeds of these scooters cannot exceed 15-20 km/h.
Berlin based Circ has launched the e-scooters in the capital following this trial legalisation. On Thursday it announced that it is in the process of setting up e-scooters around the approved locations in coordination with the city's transportation authorities.
Circ has prioritised safety in its e-scooters that have larger wheels, better suspension and a robust braking system. Moreover, it has announced that every ride on Circ e-scooter is insured with personal accident, third-party liability as well as product-liability insurance.
“Congestion is an increasing challenge in the region as lots of tech-savvy people move to cities. Micro-mobility provides a convenient, quick and affordable alternative to the car, which is fully electric and eco-friendly. It also increases access to the public transit networks which are being developed. Countries like the UAE have an unrivalled opportunity to lead the world in developing cleaner, safer, better-connected journeys.”Jaideep Dhanoa, Circ MENA Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Careem is not far behind. It is in talks with Abu Dhabi authorities to launch its own e-scooters to tap into the micro-mobility market further.
Careem first made its mark in the micro-mobility sector through the acquisition of Cyacle in May 2019, a little bit after the e-scooter ban came in effect. Since Cyacle was a bicycle-sharing platform, it was Careem's way into the space.
This pilot programme for e-scooters in Abu Dhabi will run for six to twelve months. If other companies want to set up in the emirate and launch — or in the case of KIWIride relaunch — its services in the capital, the Integrated Transport Centre has said that they can apply for a certificate and business licenses from the relevant authorities.