By Dhanusha Gokulan/Staff Reporter www.khaleejtimes.com
Ali M* drives around in a tinted maroon coloured Toyota Corolla in areas like Downtown Dubai, Business Bay, and financial locations in and around Shaikh Zayed Road and Al Khail Road.
His work involves picking up people from their residences and dropping them to their place of work. He occasionally also drops ‘customers’ to nearby metro stations if he finds them stranded and waiting for a taxi, for a minimal cost of Dh10.
This reporter found Ali M near an office tower in business bay. “I can drop you to Al Nahda if you’re looking to go in that direction. If not, then I’ll drop you to the metro,” said Ali. In case he senses hesitation on the part of the customer, Ali flashes his business card and says, “I’ve been doing this for three years. You have nothing to be worried about.”
He takes the money a few moments before he reaches the destination, in fear of being caught by Road Transport Authorities (RTA) near the metro station.
Despite severe crackdowns and penalties being levied on illegal taxi drivers in Dubai, it still seems to be an ongoing practice. However unlike how it used to be a few years ago, the modus operandi of illegal taxis or private taxi drivers has become far slicker.
Dr Yousif Al Ali, CEO of RTA’s Public Transport Agency stressed that there were several risk factors involved in hiring private taxis. More info