Adnoc Distribution announces free trial of Dh10 premium service comes to end at the weekend
Abu Dhabi motorists must pay or pump their own petrol from Saturday
Motorists must pay Dh10 or else pump their own petrol from June 30.
The long-awaited move from Adnoc Distribution will mean motorists must choose premium or self-service channels at 150 stations across the emirate from midnight on Friday.
It's believed the “Adnoc flex” system will then be rolled out at Adnoc stations in the Northern Emirates over the coming months.
The premium option costs Dh10 and means an attendant will fill your car, wash the windshield and check tyre pressure. Otherwise motorists can pump their own using cash or credit card. There is also a “smart tag” option which allows customers to refuel and pay using a tag fixed to their vehicle that can be topped up online. To get this tag, customers can register online, book an installation appointment and pay a Dh50 activation free which is redeemable for fuel. It is expected that a charge for the tag will be introduced at some point in future.
Also announced on Tuesday was an awards system for premium customers, which will give discounts on a range of products from coffee to car washes through special codes on receipts. For example, one premium use will get Dh10 off a coffee or 25 per cent off a car wash. Rewards can be redeemed within 30 days of purchase and multiple receipts can be used for one service.
The elderly and people with special needs are exempt from the charge and Adnoc said that attendants are sensitive to others who may not be able to leave their car. Those injured for example, may be exempt from the Dh10 fee.
The announcement follows a free trial period over the past few months at selected stations. Adnoc Distribution told The National on Tuesday that there were no plans to increase the fee and no pump attendant jobs would be lost. The company said it picked Dh10 not because of commercial considerations but because it set the correct distinction between premium and self-serve.
John Carey, deputy chief executive of Adnoc Distribution, said some analysts thought as many as 50 per cent of customers would go for premium but it was difficult to predict.
“I think it will be somewhat seasonal,” he said. “What we have to do is make sure that people have a good choice.”
Mr Carey said the new system was introduced because the one size fits all approach no longer works and some customers had also suggested it.
“More than 80 per cent of population is expatriate, are used to self-service and really like it. People have that choice around the world. In the United States, they tend to choose self-service,” he said.
Mr Carey said the company had learned a lot from the trial period regarding payment systems, the speed through the pumps and about staff training.
“What’s been really fascinating is the amount of people – male and female and Emirati and expat - who have tried it. Some love it and some don’t but the choice is there.”
An online poll by The National in April revealed that 80 per cent of people said they’d rather pump their own fuel despite the fact the heat of summer was approaching. And individual motorists said they might pay on occasion but all agreed that the cost of living was rising.
If you wish to pump your own, then first you must place the palm of your hand on a designated spot on the pump to remove static. Then you authorise a card payment or cash, select the fuel, insert the nozzle into the fuel tank, flip the lever on the pump upwards and fill up. Then you pay with cash or card. If you choose the premium, the attendant takes care of everything. Over time, it’s also expected that people will be able to order fuel or gas cylinders to their house on a smartphone app. There are dedicated channels for premium and self-service at Adnoc stations but depending on demand, any pump can function as either premium or self-service.
Mr Carey also said new incentives and training schemes were being introduced for staff members.
“The plan is to build the loyalty programme and build that premium service. One of the [most] important things is to make sure people have a great self-service experience too.”