Taxi bosses in Dubai said they were recruiting additional drivers and offering bonus programs to address the lack of available taxis during rush hours.
The Emirate’s Roads and Transport Authority urged commuters to take public transport in the meantime.
Transport chiefs said the lack of available taxis was due to “unprecedented growth” in passenger numbers due to a return to offices and schools, as well as Expo 2020, which opened its doors. doors in Dubai in early October.
The National polled some travelers in Dubai who said they had not been able to hail an RTA taxi on the street or find one in the Hala Taxi section of the Careem app in recent weeks.
âIn many parts of Dubai, it’s not that customers can no longer flag RTA taxis via Hala, it’s just that we’ve seen unprecedented and huge growth in the city as people return to the city. offices, schools, social outings, in addition to several events happening in Dubai, including Expo 2020, âsaid Basil Hovakeemian, Managing Director of Hala.
âIn simpler terms, this generated a higher demand than the supply. With all of these reasons to get around town during rush hour, there aren’t always enough taxis to serve everyone.
Additional drivers will be recruited in the coming weeks, Hovakeemian said, but he urged patience as changes are introduced and new hires are trained.
“RTA plans to increase the number of taxis in Dubai over the next few weeks and we are working closely with our franchise partners to ensure that, as a next step, these vehicles are part of the Hala platform.” , did he declare.
âIt is very important to note that a change like this does not happen overnight. We ask our runners to be patient with us as these measures will take some time to be implemented.
“The city has recovered strongly and the economy has experienced massive unprecedented growth, all industries / businesses are working hard to meet the needs of all consumers.”
He said Hala is also working on several incentive programs to ensure that as many drivers as possible are on the roads, especially during rush hours.
“We expand the captain [driver] incentives / budgets and really looking at different angles to ensure the best quality of service, âMr. Hovakeemian said.
âWe do this by offering bonuses and guarantees for being online and accepting bookings during peak hours.
âOur captains have done a tremendous job and effort in staying online and helping people get around during rush hour, and so that we can keep that with this influx of people into the city, we are offering these bonuses. “
The RTA issued a statement saying it was aware of issues with taxi availability in Dubai in recent weeks.
âRTA is working with taxi franchise companies to ensure the availability of taxis on time to meet the increased demand for taxis due to the intensive event schedule around the city,â said a representative.
“In the meantime, we would like to ask commuters to plan their trips, use various means of public transport and metro, especially at large events, and book taxis through the Dubai Taxi Corporation, Careem and Uber apps for ensure that the required reservations are met. “
The National tried to hail a taxi through the Hala Taxi section of the Careem app during rush hour between 4.30 p.m. and 6.30 p.m.
Dubai Marina and Town Square did not have taxis available, Business Bay had a 37 minute wait, and Damac Hills had a 15 minute wait.
Dubai commuters have expressed frustration at not being able to flag RTA taxis since early October.
âUsually we would just go out to buy one on the street, but they weren’t available recently,â said Aaron Sutton, 32, who works in marketing and lives at JBR, Dubai.
âWhen I go to the Hala part of the Careem app, we just get a message saying ‘can’t find a captain’.
“Now we end up paying for premium Lexus rides, which cost a lot more than using an RTA equivalent.”
Mr Sutton said that in one case he paid over 100 Dh ($ 27) for a routine one-way ticket which typically costs Dh 30 with an RTA taxi.
“I have lived in the marina for about four years now in the same building and if there weren’t a taxis or two waiting patiently outside there was usually always one available around the corner for jump in, âsaid Kirsten Rock Keogh, a 29-year-old teenage happiness coach.
âNow when I leave the tower I meet other people standing on the sidewalk waiting for taxis and all of them seem to be trying to book through Careem or Uber as well.
“There are plenty of them on the road but they all seem to be already reserved by showing their red light.”
Another resident said it has become very difficult to book an RTA taxi in recent weeks.
“Very often, I can’t find a taxi or else [the app] find a cab over 20 minutes away, whereas a cab would normally arrive within five minutes, âsaid engineer Steven Reilly, 36.
âWhen you use Uber, taxis are available, but they can cost up to twice the fare of an RTA.
“When I leave work at the Marina in the evening, it is impossible to wave a taxi or book one.”
Suburban dwellers also suffer from the lack of available taxis.
âI live in Mudon and we have had visitors this weekend,â said Peter Murphy.
“I tried Wednesday evening, Thursday afternoon and Friday afternoon and nothing [was available]. “
Updated: November 6, 2021, 11:51 AM