Drive at ease: Taxi drivers in Dubai are alerted not to speed through a monitoring system Image Credit: GN Archives

Dubai: Cabbies in Dubai who misbehave with passengers or speed will get black points, a senior official of the Public Transport Agency (PTA) has told XPRESS. The new penalty system will come into effect on December 1.

“We want to ensure that Dubai taxis adhere to Roads and Transport Authority rules and regulations all the time. Each penalty will cost the taxi driver four black points. Cabbies who get 24 points in a year will be terminated from their services,” said Tariq Al Ghaith, Acting Director, Franchising and Enforcement Department of PTA, which is part of the RTA.

“We hold regular meetings with our franchises to make sure that taxi drivers follow the Franchise and Enforcement Department’s (FED) guidelines. But now we are going a step further by penalising drivers who violate these rules,” he said.

Last June the RTA introduced a speed monitoring system called ‘Aman’ to discourage cabbies from speeding. First time offenders are sent a warning message on the meter and given 60 seconds to slow down.

“If they continue to speed, they get a voice alert saying: ‘You are speeding’. The alert plays three times. Taxi drivers who still don’t heed are fined Dh200,” said Adel Shakri, Director-Transportation Systems, PTA.

Second violations attract a Dh400 fine. Repeat offenders are referred to the RTA’s disciplinary committee, which could either impose a driving ban or dismiss them from services.

Shakri said since Aman’s launch, instances of speeding have dropped significantly.

Shakri said the demand for taxis is rising. “We expect to achieve a record 105 million taxi trips this year. Last year, we recorded 97 million trips. The year before that it was 89 million.”

The 24-hour taxi dispatch centre located in Muhaisnah receives around 15,000 calls daily. It has 105 call centre staff working in three shifts.