Burning a deeper hole in pockets

Residents of Ras Al Khaimah are dissatisfied with the new taxi services introduced last month in the emirate because of the increased fares.

By Sebugwaawo Ismail (Our staff reporter)

Published: Sat 29 Mar 2008, 8:28 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 6:50 PM

While speaking to several commuters, Khaleej Times found out the reasons for their disappointment. Most of those spoken to were unanimous in their views that the taxi fares had tremendously increased compared to the old fares.

Abdullah Mohammad Al Awadi, Director-General of RAK Transport Authority (RAKTA) has, however, said the marginal increase in the taxi fares introduced by the RAKTA was intended to help improve the general transport services in the emirate. He stressed that RAKTA wants to create a world-class public transport system in the emirate and would introduce up to 1,600 new taxis of modern types by 2009 during which period the old taxis would be withdrawn from the roads.

He also noted that they are planning to introduce bus services next year that would be operating around the various destinations of the emirate to help provide cheaper transport for the low-income earners.

Mahdi Kareem, a resident of Khozam said he used to take a taxi to work daily for Dh6-7. “Since the introduction of the new taxi fares, the transport services in the emirate have become hard. I am now paying Dh10 for the same journey and I have limited my movements using taxis,” explained Kareem.

“It is a strain on my financial resources, making transportation another burden to the household expenses,” he added.

Muhaseen Faisal, an Egyptian expatriate working in Nakheel who travels by taxis said that with the increased fares “I have to first walk and shorten the distance before I hire a taxi to my place of work.”

He noted that he used to spend Dh14 everyday for the daily transport to and from work and now spends about Dh22, which, he said, was too much.

Aslam Khan, who works in a restaurant in Nakheel, said that his low monthly income does not allow him to risk additional spending since the cost of living is very high. “I have no option but to walk the four-kilometre distance to and from my place of work as I cannot afford the new taxi fares,” he added.

Khan said he is happy walking to work for now, but is worried about how he would survive in the heat once the summer sets in.

For Salim Abdul Rahman, the introduction of new taxis in the emirate has helped to improve the transport services as there have been a few taxis compared to the growing population of the emirate.

He, however, noted that many commuters have not welcomed the general increase in the fares, which also applied to the old taxis, since many are low-income earners and cannot afford the taxi services.

According to Abdul Rahman, unlike in other emirates like Dubai and Abu Dhabi where there are bus services that can provide cheaper transport services to the people who would not mind spending more time while travelling to their desired destinations, the only option for RAK residents who cannot afford taxi fares is walking.

The approved price increase is 75fils instead of 50fils per kilometre and the starting fare for the meter is Dh2.50, instead of Dh2, which was the old starting fare for the meter.

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