Dubai - As much as 75.9 per cent of respondents in a Khaleej Times poll said Dubai taxi drivers lack good driving etiquette.
Did you have to come to a screeching halt behind a taxi driver because he suddenly stopped his car to pick up a passenger? Has a Dubai Taxi driver flashed his lights and tail-gated you on a major highway? Did the driver threaten to lose his temper because you raised your voice against him?
These are some of the most common complaints raised by Dubai residents against taxi drivers.
As much as 75.9 per cent of respondents in a Khaleej Times poll said Dubai taxi drivers lack good driving etiquette. The poll on the website showed that only 24.1 per cent of the respondents disagree on drivers with poor etiquette.
The poll on Twitter showed that 72 per cent of the respondents agree about drivers lacking etiquette and 28 per cent said they are indeed good drivers.
Dubai resident Zafar Ali responded to the KT Poll: "They (taxi drivers) exceed speed limits, change lanes without intimation, and tailgate. They are the most dangerous counterparts on the Dubai roads."
The common complaints include tailgating, speeding, stopping on the middle of the road, changing lanes without indication, not using hazard lights and sudden breaks. Some passengers have also complained of arrogant behaviour on the part of the taxi drivers. Lilly Anne Towers said: "Most drivers violate rules ... not just taxi drivers."
Residents have also raised concerns about how taxi drivers double-park their car near a free-right turn curb halting traffic behind them.
Some residents have, however, sympathised with taxi drivers stating that it is a hard job and they are under a lot of pressure from the RTA to perform well. Dubai resident and Managing Director of Al Reehan Travels LLC, Essa Hussein said: "Several of these red-roofed taxis suddenly change lanes. They are very well-mannered and set a good example of kindness and being down to earth. Most of them are very helpful."
For taxi drivers, the job is essentially a double-edged sword. R Khan (name withheld to protect identity), a taxi driver with the Dubai Taxi Corporation asked Khaleej Times: "If we don't park on the hard shoulder, do we park on the footpath? Other drivers don't understand that we are fined, too."
Another driver Ahmed Qureishi said: "We work 10-12 hours every day, and are paid on a commission basis. There is a lot of pressure. Passengers also place a complaint with the RTA if we do not stop the taxi when they hail us down. But sometimes there is no parking on certain roads and double parking is risky."
Khan recommended that passengers and pedestrians must be made aware of traffic rules. Drivers are given intense training in several aspects of road safety and etiquette before they start driving taxis. Drivers are fined anywhere from Dh200 to Dh 600 for violating rules. RTA, has however, refused to comment on the issue.