Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid-19 in UAE: Abu Dhabi taxi drivers refuse to carry more than two members of same family, residents complain

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi Filed on April 19, 2021

The rules are being flouted with impunity, as rampant violations illustrate.

Abu Dhabi residents have complained about taxi drivers in the emirate because they have been refusing to take more than two passengers in a vehicle, even though they are from the same family.

Contrary to the transport authorities' rules, the drivers have been citing the Covid-19 pandemic's strict social distancing norms as a ruse in their bid to refuse more than two members of a family to board a vehicle.

Residents have cited that taxi drivers operating at shopping malls were taking advantage of the contagion and making passengers from the same family to book multiple cabs.

Earlier, the Integrated Transport Centre (ICT) authorities had said three members of a family could be allowed in a taxi, despite the Covid-19 challenge.

Abu Dhabi Police, too, follow the ICT norms.

Officials had urged passengers to lodge a complaint against any errant taxi driver.

But the rules are being flouted with impunity, as rampant violations illustrate.

Hussain Saeed Al Ahmed, an Emirati, is a case in point.

“When my car broke down at the parking lot of a shopping mall. I decided to take a taxi with my family members. There were three of us, including my wife and sister. However, we’re met with stern refusal and ended up taking three separate taxis,” Al Ahmed said.

Tharwat Ibrahim Shaker, an engineer, had a similar experience at a shopping centre on Abu Dhabi’s Airport Road. He, too, was three persons, including his wife and mother, and a taxi driver refused to take them in his vehicle.

“The driver insisted that we use more than one taxi. My entreaty that I had come to the shopping centre in a taxi fell on his deaf ears. However, fortunately, we managed to find a taxi a little away from the shopping centre and the driver happily took three of us home,” Shaker said.

Ayman Shaban, another resident, had a similar incident to recount. However, Shaban decided to take a city bus instead of joining the issue with taxi drivers at shopping malls.

Rules stipulate that taxi drivers and motorists be fined Dh1,000, if they are caught with more than three persons in a vehicle.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country's parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.

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