By Shuchita Kapur www.business24-7.ae
The car rental business in Dubai has not been impacted much by the Dubai Metro and, according to leading players in the industry, there is enough room for different modes of transport to co-exist in the city.
“It is very difficult to quantify the impact – if the Metro has had any,” Nigel Johnson, General Manager of Hertz UAE, told Emirates Business. “The system actually complements the rental business. People opt for rentals as they are looking at a very flexible motoring channel.
“The answer is that I don’t know [if there is an impact]. It’s very limited, if anything, would be my guess. The demand for car rental has fluctuated a lot over the past 18 months, but it’s very difficult to say which part of the market is influencing it. I don’t believe the Metro is significantly influencing it.”
Citing the case of car rental companies in major metropolitan cities such as Paris and London, Sam ElTibi, Executive Director, Mena & Asia Pacific, at Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group (DTAG), said a thriving car rental industry and a public Metro system can exist simultaneously without negatively impacting each other.
“The Metro’s impact on our business has been negligible,” he said. “Our target market continues to rent from us. Transport in the Middle East is largely dominated by cars, and the market is large enough for all forms of transport to co-exist. Dubai will continue to attract tourists from all over the world, given the world class infrastructure and facilities that it has to offer.”
Johnson of Hertz said the impact by the Metro is on the same lines as that of taxis in the city. “In the same way [like the Metro], people use taxis to move around – all these sit together and they serve different parts of the market.” The car rental companies also deny any impact on business by departing expatriates in the wake of the economic crisis last year.
“There was a lot of speculation about large volumes of vehicles being left at the airport. In truth, we had less than five vehicles left, and not all of them were left at the airport. They were abandoned outside people’s houses. We even had a customer who kindly left the car at our location,” said Johnson.