Dubai's RTA to launch 'smart' taxis, increase fleet size by 38%

Taxi drivers set to get additional weekly rest time, aimed at improving the conduct of cab drivers

(Image: Twitter/RTA)

(Image: Twitter/RTA)

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) on Sunday unveiled its five-year (2017-2021) strategy, aiming to increase its taxi fleet by 38 percent and improving conduct of cab drivers.

The number of taxis will increase from 5,046 in 2016 to 7,000 cabs by 2020, while the number of limos will go up by 240 percent from 146 vehicles in 2016 to 500 vehicles in 2020.

The RTA also plans to transform 50 percent of taxicabs into hybrid cabs by 2021, increasing the number from 145 in 2015 to 2,280 by 2021.

The increase in fleet size is intended to meet the projected increase in customers demand and serve the needs of Dubai hosting Expo 2020.

The five-year strategy will include 64 initiatives that aim to improve services of Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC).

Smart taxis in Dubai

Under the first phase, RTA will introduce “smart” and “innovative” transport solution systems, beginning with the trial run of autonomous vehicles, operation of “smart” taxicabs that are capable of communicating with surrounding vehicles and commencing of trial runs of electric/gas-powered vehicles.

The second phase relates to upgrading the infrastructure to accommodate operational needs such as construction of an integrated depot for taxis in Jebel Ali and upgrading of the command and control centre.

The third phase relates to diversification of sources of revenues and profits through alliances with transport companies.

The fourth phase focusses on drivers and employees happiness services, while the final phase includes promoting the DTC brand through services such as towing vehicles, ladies and tourist limos, and cargo taxis.

The RTA also unveiled its two-year five-step strategy to improve conduct of cabdrivers.

The first phase will focus on technology by upgrading the technological systems of the customers’ happiness centre, fitting taxicabs with surveillance cameras and interactive screens, implementing DTC customers’ relation management system, and the running of taxi on-road performance monitoring system.

The second phase includes legislations such as initiatives to improve quality offences code, procedures for spotting offending drivers, improvement of rewards and incentives system. The third phase relates to operations and covers improvement of HR procedures and the assessment of workload on drivers by adding two hours to the weekly rest and offering a weekly holiday to cabbies.

The fourth aspect focuses on performance through follow up performance reports, reviewing and analysing targets, while the fifth plan focuses on measurement such as checking the extent of compliance with the implementation of legislations.

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