The Customers Council, Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) has recently held its 11th gathering to discuss passenger transport on public taxis with the aim of gathering broader suggestions towards upgrading this vital sector in the Emirate of Dubai. The gathering was attended by Mohammed Obaid Al Mulla, RTA Board Member, CEO and Customer Council Chairperson, as well as Dr. Aysha Al Busmait, Director of Customer Services; Abdullah Yousef Al Ali, Director of Franchise and Enforcement, Public Transport Agency and Hussain Al Banna, Director of Traffic Dep’t, Traffic & Roads Agency.
At the start of the gathering, Al Mulla praised RTA’s continuous efforts to upgrade the level of services rendered to the public and customers to world-class standards in all specialized fields. He stated that the meeting with the six franchise company officials, including the Dubai Taxi, would contribute to improved taxi service in the forthcoming period and also reflect positively on the performance of taxicabs; which was a subject of rising observations over the past period. All of these efforts would enhance the development of this vital sector in offering critical passenger transit services beside other transit modes such as the metro, buses and marine transport.
“Taxicabs form a key sector which we’ve opted to integrate with all public transport systems through setting up taxi ranks at all service-providing bodies, malls and hotels. RTA has set up regulations and rules to govern this activity in order to realize the ultimate goal of this vital sector, as well as improve the specifications, standards and stipulations set for operating taxicabs and recruiting cabbies,” said Al Mulla.
RTA Board Member, CEO and Customer Council Chairperson, further explained that franchise companies had their own centers for interviewing, assessing and enlisting drivers to specialized centers for training and qualifying them on cab driving profession along with other services such as to how to deal with customers of various community segments including special needs, seniors, men, women and children.
“The gathering also concluded to the importance of dispatching cabbies to attend intensive courses about safe driving techniques, handling of emergency cases & vagaries of whether conditions while lifting passengers, and gaining full knowledge in communicating with emergency services, Dubai Police General HQ, ambulance services, and hospitals,” said Al Mulla.
The Chairperson of Customer Council also shed light on the key topics discussed in the gathering which he said would considerably contribute to minimizing recurrent driving offences; which warrant taking strict & deterrent action by the competent bodies against such drivers. It also reviewed the main observations, complaints, suggestions and serious violations made by cabdrivers impacting other road users, in addition to other topics such as drivers refraining from stopping to lift passengers or simply ignoring them, lack of cleaning the vehicle interior, poor driver’s personal hygiene, excessive speed, misconduct towards customers, deliberate taking of long routes in a bid to travel more distance, inability to speak Arabic or English, and lack of adequate knowledge of key locations.
“Following discussions, it was agreed to give due consideration to a suggestion calling for a uniform training syllabus for all cabbies employed by all franchise companies, specify the number of approved training hours, and select the training & scientific syllabus in a way that helps educate and improve drivers potentials. It was also agreed that in case of receiving frequent observations or complaints about drivers with recurrent violations, a deterrent decision against them has to be taken. Moreover standard package of motivations has to be developed for all franchise companies to reward disciplined and highly performing cabbies in a bid to raise their creative skills and performance,” added Al Mulla.
Representatives of franchise companies in the meeting stated that in case of any increase of petrol price, consideration must be given to a fare increase commensurate with the expenses incurred. They also called for allowing them offer their services at Dubai International Airport at par with the Dubai Taxi, while observing the applicable fees. They also called for posting ads on taxicabs, and distributing applications among drivers of franchise companies on equal footing without discrimination to any company through having a suitable mechanism in place. Moreover, they also called for unifying the Booking & Despatch numbers of all franchise companies such that the standard number would be 2080808.
Franchise company representatives also called for reclassifying the most frequent complaints based on timelines (3 time intervals), taking into consideration the daily stresses to drivers and avoiding holding them responsible for all complaints reported against them. They also maintained that most complaints received against drivers come in late night hours, and called for running commercial ads for taxi services in newspapers and the Aviation magazine.
Besides that, a video presentation was made to the attendants focusing on customer complaints highlighting customer complaints from taxi franchise companies which accounted for 46 per cent of total complaints related to Public Transport Agency.