The Customers Council of Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) has dedicated its 18th gathering to discuss with representatives of taxi customers and passengers in Dubai, for the second time running, a number of key issues and suggestions aimed at improving this vital transportation sector in the Emirate.
The gathering was held under the chairmanship of RTA Board Member, CEO and Chairperson of Customers Council Mohammed Obaid Al Mulla, CEO of Dubai Taxi Corporation Abdul Aziz Malik, Director of Commercial & Investment Abdullah Al Ali, Director of Monitoring & Franchising, Public Transport Agency Mansour Al Hashimi, and several other officials.
Al Mullah highlighted RTA‘s expeditious efforts to upgrade the level of services rendered to the public and customers to bring them at par with the highest global standards in a variety of specialized fields. He attributed the reason for holding this gathering for the second time in a row with the 6 taxi franchise companies to the importance of this vital sector to the community as the taxi is a key and crucial means of public transport and mobility across Dubai. This makes us very much keen on reviewing all views and suggestions aimed at improving the quality of services rendered to bring it in line with the highest standards, he noted.
Al Mulla continued: “As the taxi sector is a vital means of transport, we have opted to integrate the taxi service with the public transport systems in Dubai to work side by side with the metro, buses and marine transit modes. We are also attaching huge importance to enlisting cabdrivers to training courses to qualify and educate them before hitting the road. We are also considering subjecting them to a variety of courses about the etiquette of dealing with customers and how to properly communicate with them. In case of any observations, RTA Call Center will always be ready to receive and communicate them to the concerned bodies who will work out appropriate solutions,” added Al Mulla.
For his part Abdullah Yousef, Director of RTA Commercial & Investment, made a visual presentation about the six franchise companies in Dubai: Dubai Taxi, National Taxi, Cars Taxi, Arabian Taxi and City Taxi. He shed light on the number of cabbies in each company and number of taxicabs used in transportation of passengers. He reviewed the standard specifications of the vehicles to be considered for joining the taxi fleet, and specifications of the suitable cabdriver to be employed who is required to have a smart appearance, cultural education, experience, and good conduct certificate among others. Already there is a standing requirement that all cabbies have to be subjected to courses held by the RTA, and for RTA Monitoring & Enforcement Dep’t to carry out inspection campaigns to ensure they are compatible with the general requirements, he added.
Afterwards, the gathering engaged in discussions between the officials, members of franchise companies and taxi customers. Most customers voiced concern that cabdrivers are driving in a reckless and negligent manner; which makes them, as well as others, liable to grave dangers. It was also noted that cabbies refuse to pick up passengers at various times of the day, use abusive language & engage in verbal altercations with users beside the lacking general cleanliness of both the driver and vehicle.
One of the taxi customers asked for employing non-Arab Asian cabdrivers as they are the most capable of dealing effectively with all segments of the community, and others customers called for reducing the taxi fare to suit all community members.
Al Mulla confirmed that all observations would be taken into consideration saying, “We in the RTA will not reconcile with something short of excellence as Dubai is taking a pioneer role in various fields. Therefore we will spare no effort towards addressing all needs and expectations of the public. RTA is therefore considering to launch wide-ranging and continuous inspection campaigns targeting taxis and will take appropriate measures against offending drivers and vehicles flouting the codes of cleaning and dealing with road users and passengers among others. We will also introduce a rating system of the Franchise Companies through drawing specific samples of vehicles from each company and examine them over a 3 to 4 months period to ascertain their commitment and compliance with the approved conditions and standards and verify the compliance of the companies as well.
We are also keen on motivating cabdrivers who show excellent efficiency and skill in driving and communicating with users through continuously honouring them such that they become role models to be emulated by their colleagues.
“As to the taxi fare in Dubai, it is considered the cheapest compared to other countries around the globe, where the taxi fare is higher several folds. Moreover, we are also encouraging the public to use all public transport modes such as the metro and buses as they are designed at top class specifications, and offer quality service at affordable prices in an effort to gain customers satisfaction.