Sunday, January 17, 2016

Proposal to Ban Taxis from Roaming around the Streets

The usage of taxi is very common in KSA, taxis keep on roaming in streets and seek passengers waiting on roads for transport. Currently Saudi transport ministry proposed a ban on roaming of taxis in streets and launching a program for online booking of taxis. This ban will be applicable from next year and passengers will be able to seek transport by calling taxi companies and booking at a specific rent rate and timing. These electronic booking systems will provide facility of fixed rates and timely service without waiting for minutes and hours. As initial stage, Ministry of transport in Eastern province has contracted a private transport company to take part in phased introduction of electronic booking system at initial stage. This private transport company has offered to introduce a system which will allow online booking on telephone and mobile networks.

Currently taxis are allowed to move in streets in order to provide services to passengers. This year the electronic booking system is not ready for work as a whole that’s why ban has delayed for now. After implementation of complete framework of electronic booking system, the roaming of taxis will be banned completely from next year.  The ban and implementation of this new electronic booking system of taxi for transport inter-city and inside the city is completely interlinked. The ban will be implemented in two main phases, during first phase large taxi companies will be targeted and during second phase medium and small taxi companies will be banned. Transport authorities have issued licenses to many private individuals who are working as taxi service provides by roaming on streets and roads.

In order to ban roaming of private individuals, alternative solutions have to be set for accomplishment of complete ban on roaming of taxis in roads. This plan seems simple at first instance but it has wide complications inside as it will target whole taxi market in KSA.

The implementation of electronic booking system will facilitate passengers apparently but reality may be opposite to it. Passengers may feel difficulty on switching to such a systematic system and it may cost huge charges to passengers. The fee structure, ministry of transport, has currently circulated to different taxi companies have been objected by many of them. These companies have shown concerns about fee structure of electronic booking system and made appeals to underway plans for lowering down the fees. The basic purpose to put this ban is to reduce the increasing number of road accidents which mainly cause when taxi drivers try to compete for customers.

Due to increasing rate of accidents, many insurance companies have refused to insure taxis as it cause huge loss. The ban would have a long term impact on insurance premium taken by insurance companies in lieu of insurance of taxis. The taxi drivers who will be found wandering in streets in search of passengers after ban will be fined over SR5, 000 along with fine their licenses will also be cancelled.

Source: Arab News

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