Taxis in Abu Dhabi are going high-tech with the introduction of satellite navigation and closed-circuit TV monitoring. Cabs will be equipped with GPS technology and screens that display routes for drivers and passengers to follow, said Khaled Saleh Al Rashedi, General Manager of TransAD – the new regulatory authority controlling the emirate’s taxi services.
And in an interview with Business 24|7, he ruled out fare increases in the foreseeable future.
“As we further advance we will introduce a closed-circuit monitoring system to provide the utmost security for commuters,” said Al Rashedi. “This will eliminate public concern about drivers’ behaviour,” he added.
He said the authority’s aim was to provide the best service possible while at the same time taking into account the interests of all stakeholders in the scheme – commuters, franchisees, Emirati taxi permit holders, drivers and above all the government.
“As a regulator we try to satisfy all the stakeholders, but it is not always possible as each party has its own interests that may contradict those of others,” he said.
“But we have put all our efforts into satisfying our stakeholders, for example we ensure commuters receive economical fares and customer-friendly service and drivers earn a good income, fair working hours and enjoy better facilities.
“Similarly franchisees’ rights are protected with guaranteed returns on their investments and Emirati permit holders will receive a consistent and regular monthly income in exchange for surrendering their taxi permits to make way for the new scheme. The core stakeholder is the government, which wants a customer-friendly service with a reputation that is in line with the emirate’s standards.”
Al Rashedi said the emirate’s former irregular, loosely organised taxi service had been the world’s cheapest. But with that came poor service and a substandard reputation that had to be eradicated soon as the country – and booming Abu Dhabi in particular – attracted global attention.