Abu Dhabi sharing scheme could drive illegal taxis off roads

A taxi-sharing scheme in the capital to serve workers on low incomes is a better and safer option than illegal taxis, residents say.

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Low-income workers board an illegal taxi from Mussaffah. Illegal taxi drivers could face deportation. Ravindranath K / The National

By   www.thenational.ae

ABU DHABI // A taxi-sharing scheme in the capital to serve workers on low incomes is a better and safer option than illegal taxis, residents say.

Drivers of illegal cabs could face fines of Dh30,000 and deportation when an amendment to the law takes effect, Abu Dhabi taxi regulator TransAD said in May. Currently, the law imposes fines between Dh5,000 and Dh10,000 or a 30-day jail term, or both.

An illegal taxi charges as little as Dh10, compared with at least Dh60 to Mussaffah and Dh120 to Baniyas in a registered silver taxi.

“The people operating these illegal taxis are filling a void,” said a 30-year-old American teacher in Al Ain.

“I do not take the bus, but from my observations and from having spoken to low-income workers, buses take too long to get from point A to point B, and do not come frequently enough.”

Transport authorities could introduce a taxi-sharing scheme that offers cheaper cab fares, is convenient and efficient, she said. For instance, the “louage” (rental in French) seats between four to eight passengers and makes the farthest corners of Tunisia accessible.

Morocco has the “grand taxi” that takes up six passengers in old Mercedes sedans, while Lebanon has its “service” taxis with red licence plates and will pull over to passengers who are looking for a ride. More info

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