Dubai’s over-the-top delivery culture makes lockdown easier

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by Shatha Yaish

Tamara, one of Dubai’s many foreign residents, hasn’t been to a petrol station in years — a click on a smart phone app is all it takes to bring a mini tanker to her doorstep.

In better times, the wealthy emirate’s over-the-top delivery culture made life easy for citizens and expats who could summon groceries and services — even a single chocolate bar — within minutes.

Dubai is now under strict 24-hour lockdown but is ideally positioned for the “stay at home” coronavirus challenge.

A large number of delivery service operators bring anything under the sun, from a hot cup of morning coffee to your office, pharmacy items at midnight, or even giant ice cubes to cool swimming pools in the scorching summer heat.

Tamara, a 28-year old-Lebanese expatriate who works in social media, orders petrol once a week through an app for Cafu, the first fuel delivery service in the region.

Once she’s sent her vehicle’s location, the app which stores her number plate and credit details sends a driver with a mini-tanker within the hour, filling up the car while the customer is at home, work, or out at the shops or the gym.

“All (the customer) has to do is leave the fuel cup open… we don’t need the customer to be there,” Cafu driver Mullika Indy told AFP.

Even though Dubai’s many petrol stations have attendants on hand to fill up the tank, with strict social distancing in force as the coronavirus spreads, Tamara says the #stayathome option is ever more appealing.

“I don’t like waiting in queues or leaving home. I simply order and they come,” she told AFP.

Promoted by authorities as a global “smart city”, Dubai extensively uses state-of-the-art technology and mobile apps to allow most government transactions including fines and fees to be processed remotely.

Most people never visit their bank branch again after having set up their accounts. (AFP)

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