By Andy Sambidge
Taxi ranks, double shifts for drivers are part of initiative to improve availability in UAE capital.
Introducing taxi ranks and double shifts for taxi drivers are among new measures being planned to solve the shortage of taxis in Abu Dhabi, a senior official at the traxi regulatory authority, TransAD, said on Sunday.
The taxi ranks will be set up at residential and commercial areas in the emirate, Abdullah Sultan Al Sabbagh, General Manager of TransAD, said.
He added that two new franchises would be agreed this year, taking the number of operators to nine.
In comments published by news agency WAM, he added that at least 20 percent of taxis will be available round the clock as taxi drivers start working in two shifts.
"We have allocated a particular share [of taxis] to each franchise to make taxi cabs available in all shopping malls in the city," he said.
"Our inspectors are constantly watching the availability in such places and inform the call centre to dispatch more cabs to that particular place, if required," he added.
Out of 9,300 taxis operating in Abu Dhabi, 4,600 are new silver taxis and 4,700 are old gold and white cabs with silver cabs increasing to 7,147 by the end of the first quarter of 2010.
He said the fleet of older taxis would be phased out by the end of 2012.
TransAD is planning to introduce a unified drivers contract "very soon" which will solve any salary disputes, he added.