Long queues of jobseekers at Dubai Taxi's open day to hire drivers

Successful candidates will get a monthly salary of Dh2,000 plus commission

There were long queues of jobseekers on Friday morning as Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) held an open day to recruit taxi drivers.

The recruitment day was being held as part of a drive to hire new drivers in an attempt to tackle taxi shortages in the emirate.

The RTA announced in November that it was planning to hire more drivers to help meet growing demand, which has risen significantly since Expo 2020 Dubai opened.

Ahmed Naqi, 26, lost his job as an airline office administrator two years ago and has struggled to find work ever since.

He even returned to Pakistan to find work there but his search was fruitless. Mr Naqi said he was born and raised in the UAE.

Anyone that is hiring doesn’t want to hire more senior people like me. That’s why I applied for this when I saw the advert online
Mahfuzur Rahaman Khan, former sales adviser for an oil company

“I have returned to Dubai because I need to find a job,” Mr Naqi said.

“I need to have work. My brothers and my mother are here in Dubai with me and are relying on me for support.”

The walk-in interviews for new taxi drivers were held in Deira.

An online advert promised a salary of up to Dh2,000 plus bonus, accommodation and health insurance with applicants requiring two to five years of experience.

Applications were open to people between the ages of 23 and 55 and who have a residency visa and an Emirates ID.

Mahfuzur Khan, who was made redundant from the oil company he worked for, is looking for a job as a taxi driver. Pawan Singh / The National

Dubai Taxi Corporation, run by RTA, has 5,700 vehicles. Most of the vehicles run 24 hours a day, operated by drivers on 12-hour split shifts.

But in recent months demand has outstripped supply, with a huge demand for taxis at Expo 2020 Dubai, where thousands of drivers were sent.

Mahfuzur Rahaman Khan, 42, has not found work since leaving his job as a sales adviser for an oil company in Dubai in 2020.

“I had to go home and help look after my father in Bangladesh,” he said. “I wasn’t able to come back because of the restrictions due to the pandemic.”

He returned to Dubai once restrictions were lifted but finding a new job has been a challenge.

“I keep looking and looking for work but there is nothing available,” he said.

“Anyone that is hiring doesn’t want to hire more senior people like me.

“That’s why I applied for this when I saw the advert online.”

Other applicants said the chances of finding a job recently were remote, which was why they jumped at the chance of applying to be taxi drivers in Dubai.

“I worked in a seafood restaurant before but I have been out of work for some time,” said Kwaku Danso, 40, from Ghana.

“I was a taxi driver in my home country for 15 years before coming here.”

Indian Najeeb Sharf, 29, said he moved to Dubai three months ago to find work, but has so far had no success.

“I have given myself another two weeks to find something,” Mr Sharf said.

Another applicant said he had been driving a taxi in his home country of Ghana for several years and felt his skills could easily be transferred.

“I was driving a taxi for many years at home and it would be an honour to come to Dubai and help increase the productivity of the country,” said Alex Obeng, 29.

“I have been here for almost a week now.”

Another candidate said he hopes he gets lucky and gets the job.

“I applied for a lot of jobs online but never got a response,” said Haseeb Nadeem, 21, from Pakistan. “I just qualified from college and came over here two months ago, but this is the only opportunity I have had so far.”

Updated: March 13, 2022, 10:19 AM