Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE National Rail Network, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with global technology company Uber. As part of the MoU, Etihad Rail and Uber will collaborate on enhancing First and Last Mile initiatives, expanding services across the UAE, mobility data analysis, and exchanging best practices.   

The MoU ceremony was attended by Nicolas Petrovic, Mobility Chief Executive Officer, at Etihad Rail and Frans Hiemstra, Director and Regional General Manager of the Middle East and Africa at Uber. The signing took place during the 17th edition of Middle East Rail, the largest and most established transport event in the MENA region and in South Asia, which was hosted by Etihad Rail for the second consecutive year.

Under the terms of the MoU, both parties will collaborate to understand passenger activity and movement between cities in the UAE. This will be done through conducting studies on travel patterns between emirates, such as trip length and distances, as well as analyzing travel hot spots between cities in the UAE, including bus and metro stations, and the distribution of trips from these transportation hubs. Through this collaboration, Etihad Rail and Uber aim to enhance integrated passenger transportation in the UAE. 

Etihad Rail and Uber will also work together and explore opportunities to integrate e-hailing services and assess the possibility of creating an Uber dedicated pickup and drop-off area for passengers within stations to enable  passengers to unify their journey planning. Both parties also have the vision to collaborate for the potential of further expanding Uber’s service into cities and areas across the UAE.

Frans Hiemstra, Director and Regional General Manager, Uber MEA, said: “Public transit is the backbone of any city and is indispensable for moving more people around efficiently, preventing congestion, and limiting pollution. But, the way people use public transport is changing, and technology has a big role to play in that to help us solve complex transport challenges. At Uber, we believe the future of urban mobility is a model that supports shared, electric, and multimodal mobility, and knowledge transfer is an essential part of that process. Together with Etihad Rail, we share the vision for more accessible and integrated transportation, and hope that our global learnings, experience, and technology will help millions make smart, shared mobility choices.”

Nicolas Petrovic, Etihad Rail Mobility Chief Executive Officer, said: “This MoU is in line with Etihad Rail’s efforts to provide accessible and integrated transportation across the UAE, including in areas with limited accessibility. Our goal is to improve the living standards and welfare of the residents and facilitate commuting among all areas of the country quickly, efficiently, comfortably, and affordably. We look forward to working closely with Uber and hope to benefit from their expertise in global transportation through technology.”

Upon completion, Etihad Rail’s passenger rail will link 11 cities and regions within the UAE, extending from Al Sila to Fujairah. The passenger trains will travel at a speed of 200 km/h, reducing time spent traveling between emirates, allowing for quick and seamless trips. Passengers will be able to travel from Abu Dhabi to Dubai in 50 minutes, Dubai to Fujairah in 50 minutes, and Abu Dhabi to Fujairah in just 100 minutes.

Etihad Rail is hosting the 17th edition of Middle East Rail, as it looks to highlight its freight transportation capabilities, country-wide connectivity and industry partnerships.  Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court, and in partnership with the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, the Department of Culture and Tourism, and GCC Railways Authority, Middle East Rail took place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), from 15-16 May 2023.