By Asma Ali Zain www.khaleejtimes.com
Officials said the move was aimed at ‘forcing’ taxi drivers to pick up pre-booked customers and improve service as well as increase their incomes. On an average, 15,000 customers pre-book taxis daily. Pre-booked taxis account for five per cent of total taxi users.
The revised flag-down rate is applicable only on taxis being booked through the RTA’s Booking and Dispatch Centre during morning rush hours from 7 to 10am and evening rush hours from 4 to 8pm from Saturday to Wednesday. On Thursdays, Fridays, Eids, official holidays and official events, the new fare will be applicable from 4pm to midnight only.
“Taxi drivers have lots of choices. Despite being fined, nobody wants to pick up pre-booked customers when they can easily find someone on the road,” said Essa Abdul Rahman Al Dosari, CEO of the RTA Public Transport Agency.
“The rise in the fare will boost the income of the drivers and also make more taxis available at the dispatch centre,” he said.
He also said the RTA had taken the decision after conducting a number of studies and field surveys to review the cab drivers’ daily work issues as well as to seek ways to improve services to customers.
“Normal booking fares of Dh6 will apply during other times,” he explained. The decision will be applicable to taxicabs run by the Dubai Transport Corporation as well as franchise companies.
“The decision will also minimise cabbies reluctance to pick up passengers,” he added.
Residents, however, were sceptical of the decision. “It is not easy to find a taxi during peak hours and many times I have had to walk home. Sometimes, I book a taxi but now that too will be more expensive,” said a schoolteacher who works in Qusais. More info