By Martin Croucher www.thenational.ae
Emarat petrol stations will be back to normal tomorrow after a four-day fuel shortage, the company said last night.
The resumption of supplies will be a relief for drivers with Arabia Taxi, Cars Taxi and National Taxi, which usually allow their drivers to fill up only at Emarat stations.
With hundreds of Emarat pumps across Dubai and the Northern Emirates running dry, they have had to drive for hours to find one that still has petrol.
Now the cab firms have told drivers they will be reimbursed for petrol bought elsewhere until Emarat’s supplies have resumed.
“In the morning instead of searching for customers I am searching for fuel,” said a driver for Arabia Taxi.
“I have wasted so much of duty time searching for petrol. It is very, very difficult for us. My partner fills the tank at night and gives the taxi to me but lately he has not been getting petrol because he can’t find any at night, so I search, search, search in the morning.
“The petrol pumps don’t want to give fuel more than Dh50. They say they can give fuel only between Dh30 and Dh50 and that’s not enough.”
Neither National Taxi nor Cars Taxi confirmed that they had relaxed their rules, but drivers for both said they had done so.
“I got a receipt for an Dh80 refill and we were refunded from the company yesterday,” one National Taxi driver said.
Two drivers with Cars Taxi also said they were allowed to go to other stations, but they were reluctant because it would mean paying from their own pockets. Drivers are normally given a card by their company to pay for petrol.
“I have been to at least 15 petrol stations,” said one of the Cars drivers.
“It’s been very difficult to find an Emarat station that has fuel. I am forced to pay cash and fill at Enoc or other stations. I have to claim the money from my company, when I can get time off from my shift.”
Mukhtar Ahmed, the operations manager for Arabia Taxi, said: “We’ve told our drivers they can fill up from anywhere in order not to inconvenience the customer. We’ve told them to pay from their own pocket and we will refund it later.
“This is a temporary situation and it is happening for the first time. We are in constant contact with Emarat and they’ve told us that it will take two or three days to fix.”
The Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC), which has a fleet of 3,500 taxis and contracts four private companies to run a further 3,500 cars, said it was unaffected by the Emarat shortages as its petrol contract was with Eppco and Enoc.
Yousef al Ali, the director of operations at the DTC, said only in an emergency would drivers be allowed to fill up elsewhere.
A driver for the fourth private company, Metro Taxi, said their contract was also with Enoc and Eppco.
At the Umm Suqeim Emarat station, one of the few with fuel, there was a big queue yesterday afternoon. “We only have 8,000 litres and that will be gone in an hour,” said one attendant.
In its statement last night, Emarat said it was “taking immediate measures to solve the problem of fuel shortages”.
“Emarat has overcome the partial shortage in fuel supply that occurred in some petrol stations over the past few days,” it said. “All those stations will resume operations at full capacity as of Friday morning.
“The shortage was a result of a holdup in logistic operations after tanker lorries failed to arrive to the loading decks on schedule, which called for a regulation of supply distribution to service stations so as to avert a complete lack of petrol.”