UAE taxi firms demand fare rise



DUBAI – Taxi firms in the United Arab Emirates are pushing to hike fares following the government’s decision to increase the price of petrol this week, UAE daily the National reported on Tuesday.

Petrol prices will jump by around 11 percent across the UAE from Wednesday as the government takes a first step towards liberalising the tightly-controlled market.

Taxi firms plan to hold a meeting in the near future to discuss the 15 fils per litre increase and are likely to recommend transport regulators allow them to raise fares to offset the extra cost, the newspaper reported.

“This is an additional cost,” Gulam al-Balooshi, CEO of Cars Taxi, was quoted as saying.

“I think we will have a meeting with the other companies and then we will approach TransAD because already we suggested to have some adjustment with the mileage calculation with the meter.”

TransAD, the taxi regulator in Abu Dhabi, said it would examine the petrol price increase “because it affects the sector directly”, but did not rule out raising fares.

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), meanwhile, has flatly ruled out any fare increase.

The 15 fils per litre rise in prices will see the cost of special unleaded rise 10.9 percent to 1.52 dirhams a litre and super unleaded climb 10.1 percent to 1.63 dirhams.

The increase will add 5-10 dirhams to the cost of filling up a vehicle.

The move is a major policy change for the government, which has maintained its cap on petrol prices despite calls from oil companies to let them sell at normal commercial rates.