Emiratis may soon drive taxis in Abu Dhabi

Emiratis may soon be driving taxis in Abu Dhabi in an upcoming move by Abu Dhabi’s taxi regulatory authority, a top transport official said.

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. Buildings are seen under construction, along with rush hour traffic as a Dubai Metro train arrives at a station in Dubai.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Buildings are seen under construction, along with rush hour traffic as a Dubai Metro train arrives at a station in Dubai.

REUTERS/ Jumana El-Heloueh

Thursday, Nov 03, 2016

Abu Dhabi: Emiratis may soon be driving taxis in Abu Dhabi in an upcoming move by Abu Dhabi’s taxi regulatory authority, a top transport official said in the capital.

“Nearly 90 per cent of our employees at The Centre for Regulation of Transport By Hire Cars (TransAD) are Emirati, so the challenge now is to see Emiratis driving our taxis and taking up this honourable profession,” Mohammad Al Qamzi, general manager at TransAD, told Gulf News.

“We are considering the development of a model to implement this plan, and are waiting for the right time,” he added.

The capital currently has 7,645 taxis, which are operated by seven franchisees. Between them, the companies employ more than 10,000 drivers. However, none of the drivers are Emirati at present.

“The turnover at these firms is quite high, especially as many registered drivers look for alternative delivery jobs,” Al Qamzi said.

The regulator is also looking at increasing taxi fares in Abu Dhabi to keep pace with fuel prices. However, this is pending approval from higher authorities.

“We need to balance the quality of services we provide and increased petrol prices due to the price deregulation with public transport affordability. Taxi fares in Abu Dhabi are still low compared to those in neighbouring emirates,” the official said. He added that the fare increase would not exceed 20 per cent.

Taxi fares last increased in the emirate in 2012. At present, the starting fee for taxis between 6am and 10pm is Dh3.50, followed by a charge of Dh1.60 for every kilometre up to 50 kilometres, and Dh1.69 for every kilometre after that. Between 10pm and 6am, the starting fee is Dh4.00. Every kilometre travelled costs Dh1.69, and the minimum fare is Dh10. Waiting charge is Dh0.50 after the first five minutes.

In terms of enhanced services, the regulator is currently working to equip all taxis with free WiFi access, as reported by Gulf News in September. The WiFi will be accessible as soon as the taxi meter starts running.

In addition, the Abu Dhabi Taxi smartphone application which allows commuters to hail a taxi will also soon allow them to report lost-and-found items as well as file concerns and complaints with TransAD. Last year, closed circuit television cameras were installed in all vehicles, which has been helpful in improving driver performance and behaviour, Al Qamzi added.

by Samihah Zaman Staff Reporter

Gulf News 2016. All rights reserved.


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