Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi residents will soon be able to pay their taxi fare by sending an SMS from their mobile phones thanks to a new e-payment system introduced by a prominent taxi company.

The system called "Q-cash" will be operational by the end of August or September this year, the company told Gulf News on Tuesday.

"Passengers will no longer need to carry loose change with them to pay taxi fares," it said.

The system will avoid complaints that taxi drivers do not return loose change to passengers, it added.

Eventually, all taxis in the emirate may have the SMS payment system, TransAD, the Centre for Regulation of Transport by Hire Cars in Abu Dhabi said on Tuesday.

We are seriously considering introducing the system for all taxis, said Khalid Saleh Al Rashedi, General Manager of TransAD at a press conference.

To pay a taxi fare by SMS passengers will be able to open a "Q-cash account" by purchasing a "Q-cash card" from a taxi or from one of our merchants (petrol stations or supermarkets), Hadi Tahboub, Chief Executive officer of Al Qudra Holding Transport Sector which runs Q-link taxis, told Gulf News.

"After a taxi ride, you can follow the instructions on the card to pay the fare by SMS. You can type the taxi number and fare, and send an SMS to a given number. A confirmation message will be sent to the customer's mobile phone and to the electronic device in the taxi which will print the receipt," said the CEO.

"The confirmation message will mention the balance amount in your 'Q-cash account," he added.

The service is free, he added. Bank account holders will have the option to purchase or recharge the 'Q-cash card' through their bank accounts, said Irene Trifyllis, Business Development Manager of the company.

The company has made an arrangement with a telecom provider and a prominent bank to operate the system, said Dimitrios Ladas, SMS Project Manager.

Later customers may be able to use the 'Q-cash card' to purchase more product, he said.

"It may become a popular E-payment card," he added.

Quick response: Cabs to be tracked

Technical work has been completed to introduce a tracking and despatch system for new taxis in Abu Dhabi, TransAD, the Centre for Regulation of Transport by Hire Cars in Abu Dhabi announced on Tuesday.

"The infrastructure is ready and as soon as we get connectivity from Etisalat, the system will be operational", said Khalid Saleh Al Rashedi, General Manager of TransAD at a press conference on Tuesday.

As Gulf News reported in November last year the system will help people avoid waiting for taxis. They can just call up the call centre which can track taxis available nearby and dispatch them to passengers.

It will enable passengers to use credit cards to pay the taxi fare later, said Al Rashedi. As well as credit cards, people can use a smart card for public transport services, he said.

Although 9,000 taxis carry a million passengers a day ,the call centre receives just 250 calls a day, of which 25 are complaints. As well as 28 inspectors from TransAD, seven taxi companies have also appointed inspectors to ensure a better service.