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Mon 2 May 2011 07:16 PM

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Qatar's Mowasalat defends big taxi fare hike

Transport operator says decision follows study which found some drivers refused to take short trips

Qatar's Mowasalat defends big taxi fare hike
A Qatar taxi.

Qatar’s public transport operator Mowasalat has defended its decision to increase the minimum taxi fares by 150 percent.

The decision was taken after a thorough study the company carried out, Mowasalat chairman Jassim al-Sulaiti said in comments published by Qatar daily Gulf Times on Monday.

He said the study found some drivers refused to take very short trips because they were not viable, adding that the move to impose a minimum charge was already in place in other GCC countries.

Under the new fare structure, minimum taxi fares in Doha increased 150 percent to QR10 ($2.70), while minimum airport taxi fares rose 39 percent to QR25 ($6.80).

Al-Sulaiti told the paper that the company had been trying to keep fares unchanged.

“But the hike was unavoidable,” he said, especially since the operational costs were going up.

The Mowasalat chief said fixing the minimum tariff at QR10 would boost the daily earnings of the company and its drivers.

“However, beyond the maximum distance to be covered at the minimum fare of QR10 (about 5.5km), the prevailing fares will remain and the passenger would continue to pay the old fares," he said.

The chairman also said people who operate illegal taxis would be deported if caught by the authorities.

“Virtually, every day such incidents are reported from different areas of the country,” he said.

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