A 12-year-old boy is in a critical condition after being hit by a taxi while crossing a road in the Al Majaz area in Sharjah, an official at Sharjah police said. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News archive

Sharjah: Falling revenues and a decline in passenger numbers are the real reasons behind the increase in taxi fares, Sharjah Transport officials revealed yesterday.

The officials said the move to increase tariffs by almost 25 per cent was taken to mitigate the loss of income by franchise companies.

Starting this month, tariff rates increased to Dh1 for every 650 metres, up from Dh1 for every 800 metres.

For example, a trip that usually cost Dh15 will now cost Dh21 on average.

Mahmoud Al Hosni, the spokesman for Sharjah Transport, said the tariff hike was made at the request of the franchise companies.

The last tariff increase by Sharjah taxis was adopted two years ago when the base fare rose from Dh2.50 to Dh3.

Al Hosni said the tariff increase was part of an ongoing evaluation of services in the emirate.

"Most of the bus routes have been completed and since there are more alternatives in the public transport system, this led to a decline in [the] demand for taxis.

"This caused taxi drivers to earn less income and had then become a burden on the franchise companies," Al Hosni said.

"In order to enhance the services of taxis, Sharjah Transport decided that [the solution] would be to increase the tariffs. This will in turn reduce the number of passengers but by doing so, we will also be helping residents and the environment by reducing traffic congestion."

Ahmad Muazu, a Sharjah resident, said that the new tariff rate was unfair as it meant that his expenses would increase.

"A trip to Dubai and back will be more than Dh150, and I can't afford this everyday. Now I am more determined than ever to get a driver's licence and buy my own car because it will be cheaper than paying [for] taxis on a daily basis," he said.

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