Abu Dhabi residents gauge new taxi fare hike
Residents are complaining about the almost 43 per cent hike
Abu Dhabi - The meter will start at Dh5 for the day and Dh5.50 at night, as per the new tariff
Commuters are in for a rough ride after the increase in Abu Dhabi taxi fares.
Residents are complaining about the almost 43 per cent hike on the metre starting charge - from Dh3.5 to Dh5 - and with the minimum fare set at Dh12, it's set to dig a hole in their pockets.
The meter will start at Dh5 for the day and Dh5.50 at night, as per the new tariff.
The current meter is Dh3.5 during the day and Dh4 after 10pm. The current charge per kilometre is Dh1.6 during the day and Dh1.69 at night, while the new fees will go up to Dh1.82 for day and night rides.
"I rely on taxis for my daily commute to office. A one-way trip costs Dh6 from my home to office. But paying Dh12 for every trip means my commuting expenses will double," said Sudeep Thambi, a sales executive.
Mohanad Al Mashaat, an expat from the US, said he heavily relies on getting around the city by taxis almost every day. "I usually choose to take a cab instead of driving around because it means not worrying about spending a lot of time finding parking spots or receiving tickets." He said the new taxi fares would also means he'll have to think twice about taking a cab to get to Dubai.
"I usually travel to Dubai couple of times a week. But with the new fares, the trip might end up costing me well over Dh300 for each way and Dh600 return."
As per the new fares, booking fees through Abu Dhabi's taxi regulator (TransAD) mobile application or the call centre will also go up from Dh3 to Dh4 during the day (6am-10pm) and Dh4 to Dh5 at night. However, the waiting fee will remain the same at Dh0.50 per minute. At airports, however, the meter for a van that starts at Dh25 and a sedan at Dh20 remains unchanged.
The new Decision No. 44 for the year 2017 was issued by Dr Mubarak Ahmed Al Muhairi, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and will be implemented a month after publication in the Official Gazette.
The hike is the first in five years. Last time TransAd - now called Integrated Transport Centre - raised prices was in May 2012.
Residents say they will be hesitant to spend more money on trips. Shahad Hashim, an expat from New Zealand, said although she is not keen on seeing living expenditures increase, taxi fares in the UAE are still relatively cheaper than many parts of the world. "Taxi fares in New Zealand, for instance, are triple the amount we pay here, so the local fares are still affordable," said the 30-year-old.
An Ethiopian taxi driver said his company may increase salaries to Dh2,500 on the condition that drivers meet a minimum target of Dh250 a day. "Our current basic salary is Dh800, plus a commission of 24 per cent. "For us, a commission is good enough, because if I make Dh3,000 a day, I get a good commission. But once the new rule is in place, we will only receive the basic salary if we make Dh250 a day."
If you do not meet the Dh250 a day, you get nothing."