The initiative is part of RTA’s dual speed monitoring system, which includes cancellation of the grace limit for all taxis that was announced last year. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Archi

Dubai: Speeds on all Dubai taxis will be locked at 140km/h as the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) moves to install speed controllers on taxis aiming to cut down on traffic offences, Gulf News can reveal.

The initiative is part of RTA’s dual speed monitoring system, which includes cancellation of the grace limit for all taxis that was announced last year.

According to a senior RTA official, a pilot project was carried out on a few taxis by installing the devices and a pulse system, which proved immensely successful in improving road safety.

“We have tested the device and installed it on 2,400 DTC taxis already. We have got great results during our trial run as speeding offences on taxis were cut down by 18 per cent over the last year,” said Mohammad Yousuf, Director of Operations at RTA’s Dubai Taxi corporation (DTC).

By the end of this year, he added, the entire fleet of more than 4,000 DTC taxis will be equipped with speed limiters.

“Speeding was the most common offence registered against taxi drivers and the most frequent complaints we had about our drivers was rash driving, which resulted in accidents. That is why we came up with a dual speed control system that forces drivers to stick to prescribed limits on internal roads, while the maximum of 140km/h is allowed only on highways like Shaikh Zayed Road and Mohammad Bin Zayed Road,” he said.

Explaining how the system works, he said: “The device sends an electric message to the computer installed in taxis, which forces the engine to automatically check the speed. The no grace system works on the pulse mechanism where once the taxi exceeds a prescribed limit like 80km/h on Airport Road, the cabbie will get two messages for the first two offences and on the third offence a fine will be issued.”

He said the system has worked really well in cutting down on accidents.

“Following great results on DTC taxis the RTA board has now approved installing the speed controllers on all taxis owned by franchises. The installation programme on franchise taxis will begin later this year and will be completed by the end of next year,” Yousuf said.

Many cabbies have welcomed the move but they say the no-grace system doesn’t work well for them.

“Having a speed controller is good but not allowing a grace speed limit on internal roads will definitely slow us down. Sometimes we are pushed by circumstance to driver fast as we have to achieve our targets as well,” said a cab driver on condition of anonymity.

Last year, all passenger buses with a capacity of 22 seats or more were ordered to install speed controllers and speed locked at 100km/h. So far the initiative has proved effective.

According to estimates, around 70 per cent of the 48,000 buses in Dubai have already been fitted with speed controllers, following a notice issued by the Ministry of Interior. The maximum speed limit on buses is 100km/h.

CEO of RTA’s Licensing Agency Ahmad Hashim Behroozian told Gulf News that the law is being strictly implemented as any buses without speed controllers are not being registered by RTA.

The law also ordered removal of additional folding seats installed on buses for safety reasons.

Speeds of school buses in Dubai are locked at 80km/h as all school buses are required to install speed controllers.