Dubai: Passengers hiring taxis from malls are crying foul over higher flag-down rates being charged during rush hours.
“I was shocked to see the meter starting at Dh10 when I took a cab from Dubai Mall last weekend. But the cabbie explained that the extra charge was because the taxi was on dispatch. When I protested and told him that I had not pre-booked the cab, he insisted that he had been messaged for the mall,” said Brijesh, an Indian resident from Bur Dubai.
“I was given to understand that additional taxis are requisitioned at the malls when there’s a huge turnout of visitors. But why should we be made to pay the pre-booking charges?” he added.
Another resident, taking a cab to Dubai Marina, said her fare began at Dh10 when she took a cab on the first day of Eid. “I was angry with the driver — how could he charge the Dh10 fare when I didn’t even call for the cab?” asked the Briton.
Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) officials told XPRESS there is no scope for any dishonesty on the part of the drivers.
Yousuf Mohammad Al Ali, Acting Committee of the Board and CEO, Public Transport Authority, said on the sidelines of Gitex: “We have not received any complaints in this connection. We would like to assure passengers that there is no scope for any arbitrary charges to be levied by drivers.”
“Passengers should know by now that a pre-booking charge applies when the taxi is sent on dispatch. The charge is Dh6 during non-peak hours and Dh10 during peak hours which extend from 7 to 10am and 4 to 8pm,” he added.
It is not uncommon for extra taxis to be summoned at the malls for the convenience of visitors when there is a huge turnout during weekends, holidays or the festive seasons. Last week’s Eid break was no exception.
Revealing figures for the huge passenger traffic handled by RTA during the first three days of Eid, Adel Shikri, Director of Transport Systems, said: “The demand for public transport on such occasions is very high. RTA carried more than 3.85 million passengers during this period. On an average, the number of passengers who took taxis per day was 477,000; buses 407,000, Metro 416,000 and marine transport 7,469.”