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Tue 30 Jul 2013 03:31 PM

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When a double fare is just unfair

Dubai getting tough on certain taxi rules is getting people talking, says Courtney Trenwith

When a double fare is just unfair

With no income tax, it’s understandable the Dubai government needs some way of making money from residents – but banning Dubai taxi drivers from making multiple drop-offs? It completely defies logic.

According to the Roads and Transport Authority and the Dubai Taxi Council the rule has applied for years; it’s just that barely anyone, including taxi drivers, knew about it. But comments in The National this week confirm that drivers face a AED2,000 fine for dropping off more than one person in a single fare.

RTA spokesman Tariq Al Ghaith was honest: sharing a cab reduces revenue.

So money is more important than safety or the environment?

Under this ridiculous rule, a woman who does not feel comfortable travelling in a taxi alone presumably cannot share with friends and be dropped off first.

What happens if two people intend to go to the same destination but change their minds mid-drive? Should the taxi force them both out at the first stop and refuse to continue? He’ll probably restart the meter and reap an extra AED3-10 depending on the time of day. Is that small change really worth the hassle?

It’s not a great deal of money, sure, but add that up across the city and the government will be receiving a pretty nice bonus.

Not as much, though, if two people heading in the same direction are forced to catch separate taxis. For example, last week I was at an event at Festival City and shared a taxi home to Dubai Marina with a friend who lives at the other end to me. If we had been forced to go separately we each would have had to fork out AED75 – not only doubling the taxi company revenue but doubling the amount of green house gas emissions and halving the number of available taxis for other passengers.

It just doesn’t make sense whichever way you look at it.

Thankfully, so far taxi drivers have been ignorant of the law and never – from what I’ve heard – raised an eyebrow when asked to make two stops. Let’s hope it stays that way or they decide to make the rule a bit more flexible.

And yes, I am aware that by writing this piece I am bringing attention to the rule, which may in fact work against me. But it’s too ludicrous to ignore.

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Zafar 7 years ago

Taxi drivers are not ignorant of this rule, they know it and use it regularly. I do not live in UAE anymore but have lived there for 12 years.

I used to travel a lot with my colleagues, we both lived in Sharjah a mere distance of about 2 Km between our residences. Catching a cab from Dubai airport was always a problem. Cab driver will always ask if you are going at the same place or a different places. If we respond different places then they would refuse and inform us that they will drop us at one place only.

We were forced either to get 2 separate cabs or get off at one place and then take our own car to drop the other person to his place.

Complaining to RTA was not helpful either, the first time I complained, I had to be on the phone with cab driver and my friend standing under my building for almost 20 minutes and waiting for someone to respond. When somebody finally answers the call a simple response was yes that is the rule period.

wotrules 7 years ago

Having read the IMF report on Dubai and debt issues, it is clear that many more subtle things like no max on Salik and now this will be brought in even more in Dubai huh.
Every little helps and hinders!

Ronald 7 years ago

I had the same problem recently. a Friend offered to drop me at the airport, intending to carry on to her home in the same cab. We didn't mention this to the cabbie until I was getting out, simply presuming he would be happy with the fare, but his eyes bulged when we told him to carry on to my friend's home. He made my friend duck, took off with wheels spinning and all was well. He certainly knew the rules. He was well rewarded.

Mark X 7 years ago

Sometimes the brain travels from the head to another part of the body, and the thinking is affected.