Taxi drivers
Clockwise, from top-left: Masud, Mahabubur and Monsur -- the three Dubai taxi drivers who are among the 638 to have been honoured by RTA. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Meet Monsur, Masud and Mahabubur. Instead of the word ‘taxi’, their names — and the names of 635 other drivers like them — have been installed on top of Dubai cabs, in recognition of their hard work and “high level of social responsibility during the outbreak of COVID-19”, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced on Tuesday.

c The initiative is part of the “plan set to recognise the drivers and reward their efficient and professional performance”. RTA said it always sought to develop new programmes and initiatives to encourage drivers, including the traffic safety award that was launched nine years ago, as well as recognising honest drivers and staff who have done excellent service every month.

Dh2 million annual award

RTA noted “about Dh2 million is budgeted annually to reward outstanding drivers. Select taxi drivers are also offered complimentary air tickets, as part of the Traffic Safety Awards, to bring their families on visit visas, which contributes to their psychological and family stability”.

“We consider them (taxi drivers) ambassadors in delivering the message of the RTA to enhance traffic safety, which contributes towards realising Dubai Government’s strategic goal of protecting lives and properties,” RTA said in a statement.

Your taxi has a name

Back in April this year, RTA launched #WhosYourCabbie campaign. RTA tweeted the campaign was created to honour “the heroes who are with us in every journey, the heroes who kept #Dubai moving in the toughest times, and the heroes who add life to our streets every day; we’re proud of you, we know you, and we appreciate all that you do”.

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RTA commented: “Think about the people you meet every day, you always end up asking their names.” And this is the reason behind the campaign. What was once an impersonal taxi ride, can now become a journey shared by passengers and drivers. When inside the taxi, they talk about the weather, food and Dubai. Now, passengers won’t need to ask, but they will know who they are talking to. With happy faces, the taxi drivers will feel pride and honour that passengers will finally get to know their names.