DUBAI // The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) says its new In Safe Hands programme is a personalised taxi service, and carries no stigma for drivers who are not part of it.
Last week, the RTA announced that families who want to travel with the city’s 60 safest drivers could pay for the privilege. The drivers all have long service records and no traffic offences or customer complaints against their names.
But some customers said the programme left them wondering whether Dubai taxis were generally unsafe.
“I am pondering if this [announcement] is confirmation by the authorities that the Dubai taxis are not safe,” said Amet Kianin, 45, a scientist from the UK.
“Why then do you need to offer additional safer services? To me, this scheme looks like taxi service repackaged with a premium price, while at the same time implying that the existing taxi service is not suitable for families and kids.
“The rest of what they are proposing is no different to what they should be doing with all drivers to ensure that quality service is delivered to all customers.
“This is not a positive marketing strategy by RTA and perhaps they should rebrand it as a concierge service.”
The programme costs an initial flag fall of Dh25, plus Dh1.71 a kilometre, compared with between Dh3 and Dh20 a flag fall and Dh1.60 a kilometre in other cabs.
Waiting time costs the same, 50 fils a minute. It is unknown if the drivers involved in the programme are paid more.
“The service is personalised and characterised by swift and quality delivery through selecting a number of excellent cabbies,” said Abdul Mohsen Ibrahim, the chief executive in charge of strategy and corporate governance at the RTA and head of its Dubai Taxi Supervisory Committee. More info