New rules may cut lessons for Dubai taxi drivers


By Elizabeth Broomhall

Dubai is mulling new rules that could slash the number of lessons taxi drivers must complete before gaining their licence, a senior official in the Roads and Transport Agency said.

Dubai taxiApplicants from countries such as Pakistan and India could be individually assessed to gauge their driving skill, in a break from current rules that enforce a blanket number of lessons.

Under existing legislation, those who have had licenses for less than a year must complete 40 lessons, while those driving for more than five years only require 20 lessons.

“The system we are looking at [would involve] doing some kind of assessment test to start off with,” said Ahmed Bahrozyan, CEO of licensing at the RTA.”Based on that, we’d decide whether they are ready to go straight for a test, or whether they need lessons and how many lessons they need.

“We feel this is the fairest system for everybody.”

The news may alarm some Dubai motorists who have raised concerns about the skill displayed by the emirate’s taxi drivers.

The Dubai Taxi Corporate last year received 12,768 complaints of bad driving from passengers for its 3,504-strong taxi fleet.

According to the RTA, poor driving is the chief complaint from fellow motorists about taxi drivers – but Bahrozya said the authority is doing its best to address concerns.

“I think most countries have problems with taxi drivers not following traffic laws,” said Bahrozyan. “But there is a lot of effort within the RTA to manage that. We are also quite strict with our driving tests.”

The RTA said this week it is eyeing a nationwide law to clamp down on new motorists by restricting the type of car they can drive and the situations they are allowed to drive in.

Bahrozyan said a restricted licence, such as that seen in Canada, New Zealand and Australia could help tackle the high rate of road traffic accidents seen in the UAE.