Illegal taxis discover new ploys

SHARJAH - As Sharjah Transport and Sharjah Police intensify their crackdown on unauthorised taxis in the emirate, new ploys are being used by the drivers to keep their illegal business going.

By A Staff Reporter

Published: Sat 29 Mar 2008, 8:29 AM

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

The taxi drivers in the emirate no longer move around looking for passengers as they used to do. They now park in designated parking areas and their brokers go about soliciting passengers.

The ploy is very common at Sharjah City Center located on Al Wahda Road that is not serviced by public buses going to Dubai. Illegal taxis wait at the entrance of the third subway just outside Sharjah City Center and whisper to desperate commuters that they have their transport to Dubai. The passengers sit in a shade waiting for the required number of passengers and are then taken to a taxi parked behind Sharjah City Center Parking.

The same ploy is used at Falah Plaza and Mega Mall in Sharjah.

“Big vans capable of carrying up to 14 passengers charge Dh5 per head and small cars Dh10,” said Mohamod Kaasa, a passengers.

Mohamod felt it is very hard to stem out the illegal taxi business in the emirate by fining the illegal taxi drivers without providing an alternative mode to desperate commuters.

Al Wahda Road, which is the main road linking Dubai and Sharjah, does not have any public transport and commuters have to go to Al Jubail Bus station or Rolla to board a bus.

“It would cost me up to Dh10 from Al Wahda Road to go to Rolla and board a bus to Dubai that would also cost Dh5,” said Kaasa.

“If there is an opportunity, I don’t see how I can miss out on it.”

A senior official from Sharjah Transport told Khaleej Times that commuters did not have any justification to resort to illegal transport system.

He urged all residents of Sharjah to report to police or Sharjah Transport all the illegal taxi drivers by providing their plate numbers.

As for Asif Khan, a driver with Union Taxi, his opposition to illegal taxis lies with the fact that they would create more competition in the emirate where taxi business is quite dull.

“We have a high daily target to meet that is not compromised by our bosses. Now if illegal taxis are also left to ply on the roads we shall not get customers,” Khan said.

Khan added that illegal taxis were more preferred by commuters than franchised taxis as they charged less. From Sharjah to Deira in Dubai it would cost Dh30 by a metered taxi, but illegal taxis charge only Dh5 per head.

Khan, however, could not fully explain why most taxis were reluctant to take passengers to Dubai who offered to pay that much. “I believe it all belies in our personal traits, some taxi drivers are just lazy,” he answered.

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