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Commuters in a tizzy as Sharjah hikes taxi fares

Ahmed Shaaban / 8 February 2010

It’s finally official. Sharjah taxi companies on Sunday have admitted to a hike in fares a week after its implementation on February 1.

Under the revised fare structure, passengers will shell out Dh1 for every 650 meters as against 800 metres previously. Meters on all cabs in the Emirate have been recalibrated to tick faster.

Jassim Al Balushi, manager of the government-run Sharjah Taxi Company, said, “This is in response to taxi drivers’ request. They kept complaining about not making enough money, particularly with a significant drop in the number of taxi passengers. The change is applicable to all taxis, at all times and places.”

The last tariff hike adopted by Sharjah taxis was two years back when the base fare was hiked from Dh2.50 to Dh3.

He said the Sharjah Transport Corporation had nothing to do with the hike and it was on the insistence of the cabbies in the emirate.

“The corporation not only pushes cab companies operating in the emirate to lower tariff, but also subsidises fares on all government taxis.” The situation was still better in Sharjah than in other Emirates, Al Balushi said justifying the hike.

“Taxi passengers in some Emirates pay Dh10 as minimum charge per trip even if it costs only Dh3. On the other hand, Sharjah Taxi provides bigger vehicles and pays more attention to public comfort.”

Khalfan Obaid, General Manager of Emirates Taxi, said the new fare structure would make good some of the losses his company incurred.

“Taxi companies are losing customers to public buses; we’re losing our passengers.”

He said the 2004 tariff structure was outdated. “A lot of changes have happened since then in all aspects of life, including the number of public buses, population, road-works, let alone franchisee companies.”

Cabbie Kishor Khan wondered why some passengers were objecting to the increase. “It will cost only Dh1 more for a 10-dirham trip,” he said.

Ahmed Burei said the increase would affect him badly. “It is not a matter of an extra one or two Dirhams; it will cost me more as I am a daily commuter.’’

Abdul Raof Ahmed, a Pakistani barber, said the structure would make him opt for public buses.

 

Tell us what do you think about the Sharjah taxi fare hike?

 

Readers' Comments:

So I sit in a taxi one day and notice im paying more than I usually do. When I question the meter only then am I told about the hike in fee. Initially, I didn’t buy it and thought that the Taxi driver was trying to cheat me but, being a daily commuter, I realised the taxi driver was actually right. Information to the public about such changes is not a small deal. It would have been better if we were informed about it earler rather than just slapping the new fee on our faces!!! When will they ever learn!- Salman , Sharjah

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This is normal now in this part of the world that with out giving any valid reason the prices are going higher and higher. Name withheld by request

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First of all the salaries should increase. Due to the recession, last year and this year there has been no salary raises so WHY increase taxi fares?????It’s really unjust!! -  Paul, Sharjah

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What ever it is sharjah transport is not responding properly to our complaints. last week i log a complaint aganist one taxi driver. they said soon they will get back on this. I gave my phone number and other details after that no reply from them.- Shaji, Dubai

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According to Taxi Driver, Company charge 3 or 4 times of the actual damage and deduct for silly things instead of hiking Taxi Fare there is need to check on such issue with will relieve for Taxi Driver as well as users. - Ahmed, Sharjah

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 The increase is not justified at all. First of all let there be a legalised cab sharing system. Let there be certain numbers of cabs allocated in those areas where there are low income people living who cannot afford to pay taxi fares all alone so the can share the fare. If there is justification given by the officials to a fare hike then, while a UAE ID card is being done so, the expats salaries also should be looked into cause, the cost of living is going higher and higher and nobody is questioning the employers where the salaries of employees is the lowest in the emirates compared to the management salaries. - Joe Leslie, Sharjah

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This is really unfair. I have travelling by taxi on a daily basis and it costing me more Dh2 extra every day after the hike in Tariff rate..By doing this the Taxi Drivers will lose majority of their daily passengers. -Priya Dsouza

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As a daily commuter it will affect our budget too and i agree to the point of Mr. Pankaj. Even Ms. Sandrsa is right on her point. Fares to be taxed where it helps both the driver and as well as the passenger. - Dipanshu, , Sharjah

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This is not fair for the daily commuters who travel on regular basis to offices and I have interview to many Taxi Drivers, they told this is not fair for us also. They were telling Sharjah Transport want to promote his bus service and nothing.- Zahid Mahmood Khan, Sharjah

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Too agree with Mr Pankaj, please design the structure in such a away taxies should compete with the local buses.- RIZ, Sharjah

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This would further worsen the situation for them, its simple Economics you raise price demand goes down, Instead they should reduce prices and compete with Public buses thereby increasing overall Turnover and Profitability. - Pankaj Parakh, Dubai

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What the Taxi companies should do is pay a better commission to its drivers and not deduct their wages to maintain cabs and pay for minor accidents. Yet they demand a minimum at the end of the day from the cab drivers. Increasing fares will only drive passengers further away. Look after the cab drivers. - Sandra, Sharjah

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In one word, it is unfair. The government should have tried to help the drivers by making the drivers terms and conditions with their employers more humane, instead of taxing the already suffering public. The taxi companies were imposing strict and unjust terms on their drivers and that is why the drivers were suffering from loss of business. Their work load, timings etc should have been looked into. -Rajeeve Chelanat

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