Category Archives: Dubai

Dream Whip


Now a taxi is just an app away

Now a taxi is just an app away

Staff Report
Published: Oct 23, 2013, 9:07 PM
Abu Dhabi: A mobile app – Easy Taxi – that eases a taxi ride was launched at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit.

The app – available for iOS, Android and the new BlackBerry devices – can confirm the pick-up point after a cab is ordered with the press of a button. The customer will receive confirmation of the name, photo and car model/plate of the driver, and will be able to follow the vehicle’s location in real-time as it approaches the customer.

Rocket Internet and iMENA Holding, an online investor and operator, have come together to launch the app. The partnership will see iMENA investing $7 million in a new venture that will launch Easy Taxi across the Middle East, starting with Saudi Arabia.

Passengers can save favourite addresses as well as check ride history Since drivers are checked for compliance before joining the network, passengers do not need to worry about their safety and can simply enjoy their ride, according to the promoters.

UAE households the target for lowering water use

TheNational.ae

UAE households the target for lowering water use

ABU DHABI // The UAE has one of the world’s most efficient water-supply networks, losing only 10 per cent to leaks, so the focus for preserving the precious resource has to be on consumers.

And with demand for water continuing to grow, Abu Dhabi’s nine power and water plants, which between them can produce 4.1 billion litres of water a day, are near full capacity.

“There’s been a large growth in demand and the main challenge we face now is to meet this large growth,” said Mohammad Al Hajjiri, head of water forecasts at Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company.

“In the last 50 years we started living a lifestyle of people who have a lot of water.

“This lifestyle was imported from western countries.”

Mr Al Hajjiri was speaking at the International Water Summit that continued yesterday at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

Despite growing pressure on supplies worldwide, many countries still lose a third or more of their water to leaks.

Japan loses up to 40 per cent while Jordan loses at least half.

“Forty per cent of the global drinking water is lost because of this,” said Diego Lucente, senior water projects manager at Suez Environment.

“In developed countries, we lose [45 billion litres] of water a day in terms of leakage.”

In that context, Abu Dhabi’s 10 per cent leakage is in the top tier. The problem now lies with consumers.

“It’s not just about using technology to reduce your losses, it’s about lifestyle changes,” said Bob Taylor, the business development director at Sembcorp, a UK utilities services company.

The World Health Organisation says a good standard of living can be maintained with 160 litres of water a day a person. In warmer countries such as the UAE, 180 litres is considered the maximum needed.

“We’re using much more,” said Mr Al Hajjiri. “Abu Dhabi has one of the highest consumption rates in the world. We live in nice standards so if you want to reduce it, you have to change your lifestyle.”

The UAE’s water use is estimated at 350 litres a person a day.

Mr Al Hajjiri said the Government was embarking on campaigns to reduce household use.

Bills are colour-coded to indicate whether a family is using more or less water and electricity than the norm.

“The bill tells you the actual cost of water and electricity versus what you are paying and you pay less than a third of the amount,” he said.

But he is optimistic that the situation will change.

“My grandfather used to live on 20 litres a day,” Mr Al Hajjiri said.

“Now we live on [much more] but we have to keep those habits that were suitable to this part of the world.

“There’s a high rate of consumption that needs to be addressed.”

cmalek@thenational.ae

Taxis to charge Salik from Tuesday

GulfNews.com

Taxis to charge Salik from Tuesday

By Shafaat Shahbandari, Staff Reporter
Published: Jan 15, 2013 9:59 PM

Dubai: Taxis in Dubai will start charging a Dh4 toll from Tuesday when passing through Salik toll gates installed across four different locations in Dubai, a senior Roads and Transport (RTA) official told Gulf News.

Tolls for taxis are being reintroduced after a gap of four years, as the RTA upgrades meters that will automatically add toll charges to fares after passing through a Salik gate.

Taxis were allowed to pass through Salik gates without charge from December 2008 due to dozens of complaints by customers regarding the manual inclusion of tolls by taxi drivers that led to confusion and suspicion of cheating.

“We have now developed a system that will automatically include tolls when taxis pass through Salik gates. Earlier we had problems when taxi drivers were adding toll charges manually and there were a lot of complaints, which won’t be the case now,” said Adel Mohammad Shakeri, Director of the Transportation System Department, at the RTA’s Public Transport Agency.

The meters of all 8,000 taxis, including the franchise cabs, have been upgraded and will begin to charge tolls while passing through any of the four toll gates on Al Maktoum Bridge, Al Safa, Al Garhoud Bridge and Al Barsha.

“Customers will have an option to choose an alternative route and cabbies will have to ask them if they are willing to take a Salik route or an alternative route,” said Shakeri.

He added that taxis passing through two consecutive toll gates of Al Safa and Al Barsha within 30 minutes in a single trip will be charged only once, while all rides on Al Maktoum Bridge will be toll-free between 10pm and 6am.

“Our idea is to reduce traffic on Shaikh Zayed Road and drive them to alternative routes, if a customer doesn’t want to pay extra for the toll then he can choose an alternative route and we would like to encourage people using alternative routes,” he said.

However, neither cabbies nor customers are convinced that reintroducing the toll on taxis will solve the traffic problem.

“I think it’s absurd to think that reintroducing Salik will ease traffic on Shaikh Zayed Road, there only 8,000 taxis in Dubai which run across Dubai when compared to over a million vehicles in Dubai, how will a handful of taxis taken away from Shaikh Zayed Road reduce traffic,” said Nikita, a Dubai resident of Dubai.

Echoing her views a taxi driver said: “Many tourists would prefer to take Shaikh Zayed Road and won’t mind paying an additional Dh4 as a toll. I think even residents would prefer paying a toll rather taking an alternative route.”

New SMS service puts Dubai trains and buses on tap

New SMS service puts Dubai trains and buses on tap

DUBAI // A new SMS service has been launched by the RTA allowing public transport users in Dubai to check the next available time of the bus or train they need.

To check Metro timings, send an SMS with the letter D followed by a space and the name of your station and platform name to 5223. For example, you might send D Union Station – Jebel Ali Platform.

To find out which buses will be departing from your bus station, send the letter D followed by a space and the bus station number to 5223.

You can also send your specific route number number or a specific time using the 24 hour format to find out when the next bus on your route arrives, or which buses will be arriving after a certain time.

newsdesk@thenational.ae on tap

DUBAI // A new SMS service has been launched by the RTA allowing public transport users in Dubai to check the next available time of the bus or train they need.

To check Metro timings, send an SMS with the letter D followed by a space and the name of your station and platform name to 5223. For example, you might send D Union Station – Jebel Ali Platform.

To find out which buses will be departing from your bus station, send the letter D followed by a space and the bus station number to 5223.

You can also send your specific route number number or a specific time using the 24 hour format to find out when the next bus on your route arrives, or which buses will be arriving after a certain time.

newsdesk@thenational.ae

Khaleej Times – Dubai Health Authority on Kid’s lunch boxes

The types and amount of food that lunch boxes of school students in Dubai should contain will soon depend on the new guidelines to be issued by the authorities to promote healthy eating habits.

Dubai Municipality’s Food Control Department in collaboration with the Dubai Health Authority has come up with instructions for preparing school meals for children according to their age groups, in the form of an illustrative poster.

“The new poster titled ‘School Lunch Kit’ includes information on healthy food habits to be maintained when preparing lunch kits for children in all phases of schooling,” the municipality said on Thursday.

According to the poster to be distributed in schools soon, five types of foods, namely fruits, vegetable, milk, proteins, and grains should be included in the kit. Ideal food composition with regards to children’s age also has been explained in the poster.

School canteens have also been ordered not to sell soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit syrups, milk and yogurt with artificial flavours, lollipops and chewing gums, confectionaries with sugar and artificial colour, chocolates, food with sodium glutamate content, high fat foods and chips. A list of food items to be ideally made available in canteens has also been mentioned in the poster, which, an official said, is currently available only in Arabic.

The Municipality said it had started various awareness programmes including lectures and workshops in this regard. —news@khaleejtimes.com

Dubai eGovernment updates mPay services – Users can now pay Salik, DEWA, traffic fines

http://www.itp.net/588919-dubai-egovernment-updates-mpay-services?tab=article

 

By Georgina EnzerPublished May 6, 2012

Dubai eGovernment has updated its mPay mobile payment gateway and has added new features, including SMS capabilities. Users can now send an SMS to 4488 to inquire or pay government transaction fees or due charges.

The SMS service now allows Salik recharge from RTA, payment of traffic fines from Dubai Police and payment of electricity bills from Dubai Electricity and Water Authority.

“This gateway is part of our initiative to provide government services through innovative channels with the aim of facilitating government transactions of the public and businesses in Dubai. All departments need a set of electronic components and infrastructure to provide their service online under high quality and security stipulations. We, in Dubai eGovernment, work on the provision of these components in the form of common eServices and infrastructure with the departments, enabling them to provide their eServices to the public, thereby offering them a platform for innovation and excellence in their specialized fields,” said Wesam Lootah, assistant director general of Dubai eGovernment.

The new updates to the Dubai eGovernment system are designed to allow users to activate auto-payment/auto recharge of the government services provided by mPay regularly (daily, weekly, monthly or at a specific date for payment or recharge). They also allow control over the minimum balance and the maximum payment/recharge.

The updates also allow users to configure mPay to support multiple accounts for one government service. For example, a customer can recharge the Salik account of his/her car and that of another car he/she owns from his/her mPay account.

“Dubai eGovernment provides online payment services through the Internet and mobile phones for instant payment of government fees, using effective and convenient means to save their time and spare them the trouble of visiting the concerned banks or departments. As mPay does not need a computer with access to the Internet, the service can be done instantly anywhere,” said Lootah.

The Dubai eGovernment is currently considering the expansion of individual and corporate beneficiaries of this service, either by introducing new departments and entities or adding new services of interest to customers.

To use mPay service, customers must register on http://mpay.dubai.ae.

 

Renew your driving licence online


http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Traffic_and_Transport/10307998.html

Renew your driving licence online

By Ashfaq Ahmed, Chief ReporterPublished: April 26, 2009, 23:10

Dubai: Motorists in Dubai can now renew their driving licences online, Gulf News has learnt.
“We have launched the online driving licence renewal service this week,” Engineer Ali Al Jasem, Director of the Licensing Department at the Licensing Agency of the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said.

He said the new service would help reduce road trips of motorists saving their time and money. Also, they do not have to wait in queues to get the job done.

Al Jasem told Gulf News that online driving renewal service was the latest addition to the e-service provided by the Agency to benefit the RTA customers.

Ahmad Bahrouzian, CEO of the Licensing Agency earlier said the RTA would also develop an online portal to help motorists renew their vehicle registration without making trips to the RTA offices. “The initiative will help customers complete many other services online service, including purchasing of number plates, vehicle ownership certificates and driving test appointments.”

Al Jasem said that customers interested in renewing their driving licences will have to do their eye tests first and send details using the e-services on the RTA’s website.

They will have to pay Dh110 as renewal fees. On receiving a complete online application, the licence will be posted to the applicant within four working days.

According to the RTA’s statistics, around 1.2 million people in Dubai hold driving licences while an average of 12,000 licences per month were issued during the course of last year.

“All these people have to go to the RTA offices to get service and have to wait in queues. The new online services will help reduce the rush,” he added.

Eye tests: RTA signs agreement

The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has signed an agreement with Al Jaber Optical Centre and Al Yateem Optician for conducting eye tests of applicants who apply for driving licences. Any one applying for a new driving licence or renewing a licence can go to any shop of Al Jaber and Al Yateem opticians in Dubai to have their eyesight checked – a prerequisite to obtain a driving licence.

The eyesight test will cost Dh25. Din Raj, an administrator at Al Yateem, said that their shops have already started conducting the tests and the online service will be available within a week’s time.

Customers need to bring two photographs, a passport copy or any other proof of identity. A customer can either take a certificate of the test results and submit the application in person or the optician can send the results directly to the RTA.