Dubai's RTA hikes taxi booking charges

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has hiked the minimum charges of prebooking a taxi during peak hours by more than 65 per cent. Taxi drivers welcome the move and said it will help reduce the misuse of the pre-booking facility.

Starting April 15, 2012 the minimum fare of all pre-booked  cab service in Dubai will go up from Dh6 to Dh10.

According to a statement issued by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), the Public Transport Agency has approved the revised flag-down rate of taxicabs only pre-booked through the Booking & Dispatch Center during the morning rush hours from 07:00 am to 10:00 am, and evening rush hours from 04:00 pm to 08:00 pm, from Saturday to Wednesday.

The evening peak hour timing has been extended by four hours on Thursdays, Fridays, during Eid and other official holidays.

A senior RTA official explained the hike as a measure to ease the availability of cabs during peak hours.

Essa Abdul Rahman Al Dosari, CEO of RTA Public Transport Agency, said: "The RTA has taken this decision, after conducting a number of studies and field surveys to review the obstacles that plague cabdrivers' daily work and impede the provision of better services to customers with the aim of sorting them out by adopting the best practices in this score."

Elaborating on the revised fare, Al Dosari stated that all taximeters would be reset to reflect the new tariff only during morning and evening rush hours. "Normal fare will apply during other times, as the hike will only apply to pre-booked taxis; which accounts only for 5% of total taxi users," he explained.

Dubai taxi drivers have welcomed the move and said it would prevent the misuse of the service. “Many times people pre-book  the service, but when we reach the place they would have gone by another available taxi that they would have managed to stop. It is a waste of our time, the RTA’s message system etc., and creates a lot of delay,” said one driver who operates in Dubai Silicon Oasis.

“Some even pre-book the taxi service for a short distance of less than 2kms,” he said.

“A message was sent to us yesterday about the change in the fare structure and most drivers felt it was a good move,” he added.

Meanwhile, Al Dosari said the decision would apply to taxicabs run by DTC as well as franchise companies operating under RTA umbrella.

"This step also aims to up cabbies' daily business conduct and uplift their performance …... Additionally, this step will also boost cabbies' role in advancing the caliber of taxicabs services in Dubai and at the same time enable cabbies to increase their incomes," he added.

He also added that the move is set to minimise cabbies reluctance to pick up passengers, and accordingly achieve higher public satisfaction rating, and cater to the growing demand for taxi service.

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