More than 2,000 people were caught transporting passengers illegally this year, the Abu Dhabi Police revealedon Sunday. A total of 2,198 people were caught illegally transporting residents in their privately owned vehicles.
The police said some drivers operating their private cars as taxis do not hold licences issued by the UAE authorities and may even be staying in the country illegally.
"The public is urged to not get into private vehicles operating as illegal taxis and to only use licensed ones," a police official said. "We urge people to be cautious and help authorities eliminate this dangerous behaviour."
Brigadier Ibrahim Sultan Al Zaabi, director of the transport security department, Abu Dhabi Police, said illegally transporting passengers has serious effects on the "health and safety of society".
He pointed out that passengers are putting themselves at risk by getting into vehicles of unauthorised drivers. He added that should an accident take place, legal prosecution becomes difficult when the driver is unknown or unlicensed.
According to the Federal Traffic Law, illegally transporting passengers carries the fine of Dh3,000, 24 traffic points and vehicle confiscation for 30 days.
In April this year, the police had warned drivers against practising the illegal activity, saying that more than 650 privately owned vehicles ran illegal transportation in Abu Dhabi in just three months.
Last year, nearly 100 taxis were seized in Al Wathba and nearby areas as part of a crackdown on unlicensed activities. The police had impounded a total of 98 privately owned vehicles being used as taxis last year.
In March this year, a private school in the Khalifa City had issued a safety alert to families after a driver was caught trying to offer taxi services to students leaving the school.
"The man inside the car was offering a taxi service to those leaving the school, but was not a registered taxi provider. Our security team alerted the police and passed on the car's registration details," Dr Tim Hughes, principal of Al Yasmina Academy, told Khaleej Times in March.
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