Friday, Aug 19, 2016

Dubai: More than 7,000 unlicensed transport offences were recorded over six months in Dubai, according to the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

The RTA has been trying to curb unlicensed transport activity in Dubai through a campaign called Saher Dubai in collaboration with Dubai Police.

Abdullah Al Mahri, Director of Transport Activities and Monitoring Department, which is carrying out the 8th edition of the campaign, said the total number of violations recorded during the first half of the year amounted to 7,126 offences.

“The RTA does not seek to collect fines against offenders, but rather focuses on curbing negative practices of public transport, intensifying the monitoring of violators in Dubai, and reducing the number of complaints relating to this practice. Slapping offences is only one of the means adopted in the aftermath of awareness campaigns to uproot this negative practice,” Al Mahri said.

The campaign is part of RTA’s efforts to curb this illegal activity, which is mushrooming in a way that warrants concerted efforts to stem its negative impact on the RTA and the community at large, he said.

Unlicensed transport activity rarely takes place by the roadside but those providing the clandestine services and those using them operate at specific locations, though the locations keep changing to evade detection, said Al Mahri.

It is difficult to quantify the extent of such operations as it is involves the use of different types of vehicles including private cars, rented cars, commercial transport vehicles, and company cars, he added.

“While this practice recedes under the intensive enforcement and hefty fine measures, newcomers are engaged, while some frequent violators do come again following a short spell. Some of these are ex-taxi-drivers who, after the taxi businesses have been regularised in other emirates, had to convert their cabs into private vehicles and opted to implicate them into such unlicensed passenger transport activities in Dubai,” he explained.

As for the losses caused by such unlawful activity for the taxi sector in Dubai, Al Mahri said this practice has negative financial implications on this vital sector in Dubai, which is considered one of the key tourist destinations in the region.

“It distorts the profile of the RTA as a service-providing entity that seeks to deliver best services through creative techniques aligned with the world’s top practices and solutions of the industry. This activity is an uncivilised phenomenon in sharp contrast with the status and repute of Dubai as a regional business and economic hub; besides that it unravels RTA’s efforts and keenness to broaden and upgrade the transportation sector, let alone the substantial damage inflicted by this activity on the service, tourist, and social sectors among other key sectors,” Al Mahri added.

The 8th edition of the Saher campaign involves a total of 76 individuals divided into five site teams, he said.

What the law says

The Executive Council in Dubai issued a resolution regulating road transport for people anywhere in the emirate.

The resolution prohibits transporting passengers on vehicles not licensed for such activity in return for financial return, be it within Dubai or from Dubai to any other emirate. The resolution also prohibits providing passenger transport service through phone calls, online, smart apps or other means before seeking approval from the Public Transport Agency.

The resolution prohibits promoting taxi services on unlicensed vehicles or announcing the offering of this service by hailing individuals or any other means. It also prohibits transporting passengers on taxicabs without switching on the meter at the start of each trip.

Staff Report

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