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Mall Offers Cash Incentives
to Woo Cabbies

Joy Sengupta
Filed on January 17, 2009

DUBAI - Times are tougher for retailers these days but one Dubai shopping mall is offering a cash carrot to lure taxi drivers as a way to enhance customer service.

Cabbies patrolling for passengers now often bypass the malls, because, they say, there are fewer shoppers around.

But the Deira City Centre recently took an initiative to woo reluctant taxi drivers by giving them Dh10 in instant cash.

The first 500 vacant taxis reaching the mall between 5pm and 9pm from Saturday to Wednesday will be paid the money. On Thursdays and Fridays, the first 750 empty taxis will collect.

’’The taxi driver campaign has been implemented to ensure that transportation from the mall was available to all who wish to use this service and it has proved to be a system which works well,’’ a spokesman for Deira City Centre told Khaleej Times. He would not make any further comment.

Taxi drivers explained why they are struggling.

“The conditions are tough. Earlier, there were a lot of passengers at the malls in the emirate,” Anjuman V. said. “Now, the number of passengers has dropped. Not many people visit the malls these days. And the majority of the ones who visit them are those who live close by.

“There is no way we can meet our target like this. As a result, most of the drivers now avoid the malls,” he said.

Earlier, Khaleej Times had reportedthat many commuters were opting for the bus instead of a taxi to save money and that drivers were resorting to the illegal practice of shared trips to meet targets.

“Going to the malls is a waste of time these days. You don’t find many passengers,” said Abdullah Mohammed, another cabbie.

”Moreover, the waiting time is getting longer. The better option is to drive along Jumeirah or the Dubai Marina where there is a chance of getting a good passenger,’’ he said.

Drivers say the Roads and Transport Authority should help by lowering targets.


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