Abu Dhabi taxi Image Credit: Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Public taxis in the emirate of Abu Dhabi have been equipped with card machines to allow for cashless transactions.

The initiative aims to ensure the safety of passengers and drivers, as the fare can now be settled without the exchange of cash.

The Integrated Transport Centre (ITC), the wing of the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport (DoT) that regulates public transport, announced the initiative in social media posts today.

Card machines were previously available on Abu Dhabi’s line of luxury airport taxis. The project to install them in all vehicles has been in the works for a while.

The emirate’s fleet of 6,147 public taxis have all been sterilised as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, and plastic screens have been installed to separate drivers from commuters in each vehicle.

The ITC has also stipulated that each taxi can carry a maximum of two passengers at a time, and all commuters must wear face masks during the ride.

As residents continue to use public transport to get around during the coronavirus outbreak, public transport authorities have been stepping up sterilisation and distancing measures.

The ITC sterilised its fleet of 632 buses over 48 hours last weekend when bus services were temporarily halted in Abu Dhabi. Buses also have seats blocked off to allow for physical distancing between passengers.

Dubai’s taxi fleet, managed by the Roads and Transport Authority, has long allowed for cashless transactions. Like in Abu Dhabi, the vehicles only carry two passengers at most, seated in the rear, and face masks must be worn by drivers as well as passengers.