32 per cent drop in illegal taxis in Sharjah


By Ahmed Shaaban  www.thenational.ae

Sharjah Transport has reported a 32 per cent drop in the number of illegal taxi and car lift providers in the first half of the year as compared to the same period in 2010.

An inspector checking on an illegal car-lift driver
An inspector checking on an illegal car-lift driver

The corporation attributed the decline to the development of bus and taxi fleets. As many as 5,614 cabs and 224 buses are running on the emirate’s roads. The launch of new bus stops at crowded areas and the deployment of more patrols and controllers are additional grounds.

“Some 1,900 tickets were issued against motorists for commuting passengers in violation of the law in the first six months of the year against 1,294 from January 1 to June 30 in last year,” said Mohamed Karam, Head of Violations and Service Quality Control Department.

Most of the motorists nabbed were offering car lifts in their private vehicles while some transport companies illegally commuted passengers without being licensed by the corporation.

As taxi meters have been recalibrated several times to tick faster and the fare has risen recently, more people, particularly those who are low paid, opt for cheaper illegal taxis irrespective of safety hazards. A minimum cab fare within the city costs Dh10, and the meter starts at Dh20 for a Sharjah-Dubai trip. Should a motorist, as per a rule enforced since May 2009, provide car lift without being licensed, a fine of Dh5,000 is imposed. “Repeating the violation draws a doubled fine of Dh10,000, and a stricter legal action is taken the third time.”

Karam urged the public to refrain from taking illegal taxis which pose a big risk to their safety. “In case of an accident, the driver and passengers will not be able to claim insurance money since the car is not licensed for public transportation.” Further, several car rental companies have registered in the Takamul or Integration system whereby they can legally transport passengers after obtaining a special permit. “As many as 5,833 temporary permits have been issued in the first half of the year, spanning 3,089 for drivers and 2,744 for vehicles.”

Karam indicated that the Takamul service may be accessed online at: www.stc.gov.ae. “Some 574 car rental companies and 15,241 vehicles have been registered in the system since its launch in April 2010,” he said.