Special cabs for special needs people


By VM Sathish  www.emirates247.com

Dubai Taxi cabbies give out mineral water to thirsty customers for Dh2 each

Dubai taxiDubai Taxi is expanding the number of cabs for special needs passengers to make their travel comfortable. Titled ‘Special Wheel for a Special Need’, the Special Needs Taxis displayed at the UITP Transport Exhibition progressing at the Dubai World Trade Centre, has many features including a wheel chair, special access platforms and flexible seating arrangement to accommodate the physically-challenged passengers and their companions.

Demonstrating the Special Need Taxi Service, Yousuf Al Ali, Director, Fleet Operations, Dubai told Emirates 24|7 that currently there are four taxis devoted for handicapped and special needs passengers. Wheelchair bound passengers, especially those who travel through the Dubai International Airport, can also use the special  taxis. Dubai Taxi drivers will offer them a helping hand.

“The Special Needs Taxis is part of several initiatives taken by Dubai Taxi recently to improve our customer service. Our objective is to devote one per cent of our fleet for the handicapped and special need passengers. We have added two taxis last year for handicapped people and two new taxis are added this year for special need people,” he said.

“The service has been used mainly by wheelchair-bound elderly people undergoing treatment in hospitals. One of the four vehicles can be used as a taxi as well as a special needs taxi and since the special needs features are inside the vehicle. It is difficult to distinguish the ordinary taxis from the special needs taxis,” he said.

Drivers are given special training to handle special needs customers who can book in advance through various channels.

“On an average we get about 3 trips per day for a special needs vehicle. Our objective is to ensure safe and easy transportation of people with special needs. Public Transportation in Dubai has now become accessible to special needs. There is an electric wheel chair elevator, auto lift for comfortable movement in and out of the big van and special seating for companion,” he added.

The service is available 24-hours from Dubai International Airport with a starting fare of Dh25. From 6am to 10pm, the starting meter will be Dh6 (from anywhere in Dubai) and at night 10pm to 6am, it is Dh7 starting fare. These vehicles have a universal special needs blue icon logo placed on the side passenger doors and back window.

Yousuf said another initiative to improve customer service is to provide a bottle of mineral water for customers during the summer period and a trial run has been going on with Al Ain water to give one bottle of mineral water to the customers using Dubai Taxis from the Dubai International Airport.

“It is a joint initiative of Al Ain Water and Dubai Taxi. On a trial basis about 350 Airport Taxis are giving out one bottle of mineral water to each airport passenger. The mineral water is provided by Al Ain Water and Dh2, the price is added to the meter. Dubai Taxi is giving the mineral water at much cheaper rate than five star hotels,” he added. He said the facility may be expanded to other taxis, depending on the feedback from the trial run which started recently.” A thirsty customer arriving at the airport will definitely enjoy the mineral water, even if he has to pay for it.

The company has also started displaying leaflets explaining the customer rights as well as the driver rights. “These leaflets in English and Arabic give all the details of customer rights and driver rights. There has been a considerable decline in the number of complaints about Dubai Taxi drivers and we have found that many customers are from rude people who look down upon taxi drivers as low class people. It is unfair to make silly complaints against Dubai Taxi drivers on flimsy grounds. The same way customers have right, drivers too have their rights,” he explained.