NAT  Abu Dhabi taxi1-1590929361536
Abu Dhabi taxi fleet - over 6,000 vehicles to enable card transactions Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: All vehicles in Abu Dhabi emirate’s public taxi fleet are now equipped to accept card-based fare payments, the Department of Municipalities and Transport’s Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) announced in a statement on Sunday.

Long in the works, the feature has finally been rolled out by the transport sector regulator to further limit contact between drivers and commuters and contain the coronavirus outbreak. It is now available on all 6,180 taxis on the fleet, which are operated by seven taxi franchisees.

How to pay

As reported in Gulf News, the initiative to allow for cashless transactions in order to limit the coronavirus outbreak was first announced in April.

In order to make pay the fare using their debit or credit cards, commuters need to pre-install the Abu Dhabi Taxi application on to their devices from Apple Store or Google Play, and register with their personal details. They can then pay the fare at the end of the trip.

The ITC added that the feature will also greatly benefit tourists by allowing them to pay fares without the need to carry cash. It is also regularly sterilizing all vehicles regularly – at the beginning and end of each shift – to keep the fleet clean and protect riders from infection.

Until recently, card-based payments could be completed on Airport taxis, a fleet of luxury vehicles dedicated to rides to and from Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Precautions during taxi rides

In accordance with government regulations, all commuters must wear face masks and gloves when riding a taxi, and be seated in the back. No more than two passengers are allowed per ride. Moreover, the ITC has also installed plastic sheets to create a protective barrier between passengers and drivers, and also provided hand sanitisers in the vehicles.

5 million trips: Emirates Transport Taxis

Meanwhile, taxi franchisee, Emirates Transport Taxis, announced that completed more than five million trips last year (2019). The Abu Dhabi-based companies has 800 vehicles of various sizes with 1,000 drivers.

Ali Yousef, manager of Emirates Transport Taxi, said that the company also recorded 803 trips for people of determination and the elderly in 2019.