Dubai taxi drivers get customer service training



DUBAI // Newly hired taxi drivers may have to take cultural sensitivity and customer service classes before obtaining permits, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has said amid complaints from passengers.

Educating drivers in etiquette and personal hygiene was among the issues discussed during a gathering of the RTA Customers Council last week, as was increasing the number of inspectors to ensure standards were being met.

The agency has received allegations about its cabbies ranging from being refused a ride and sexual harassment to reckless driving and getting lost, among others. A number of travellers welcomed the move to raise driver standards.

"Although taxi standards in Dubai are better than those in most other UAE cities and better than, say those in parts of the Third World, there is still room for improvement," said Motasim Salmi, 32, an Iraqi- American with businesses in the US and Europe.

"One way I gauge how developed a city is, is from its taxi services. A professional level of service indicates strict government oversight. This is a good move."

Raising the level of service was a priority to keep customers satisfied and maintain standards, said Mohammed al Mulla, the RTA chief executive.

"We are attaching huge importance to enlisting cab drivers into training courses to qualify and educate them before hitting the road," he said. "We are also considering subjecting them to a variety of courses about the etiquette of dealing with customers and how to properly communicate with them."

The new courses would compliment standing regulations regarding driver education, said Abdullah Yousef, the director of the RTA Commercial and Investment Department.

A driver "is required to have a smart appearance, cultural education, experience and a good conduct certificate, among others," he said.

Mr al Mullah highlighted RTA efforts to upgrade the level of services rendered to the public to bring them at par with the highest global standards.

"We in the RTA will not reconcile with something short of excellence as Dubai is taking a pioneer role in various fields," he said. "Therefore we will spare no effort towards addressing all needs and expectations of the public. RTA is therefore to launch wide-ranging and continuous inspection campaigns targeting taxis and will take appropriate measures against offending drivers."

Those measures would seem necessary given some of the complaints. Michael Pendleton, a 28-year-old American accountant, said he attended a concert in Dubai recently and was looking for a taxi to take him home from the World Trade Centre to Deira, a relatively short ride.

"There were absolutely no taxis available but I was lucky to find one that was dropping off some people," he said. "I got in and told the told to take me to Deira. He told me he couldn't because he had a fare waiting for him, so I got out.

"The guy drove less than 100 feet and stopped for someone else. I caught up with him and asked his passengers where they were going and they said Arabian Ranches. I guess the driver didn't want to take me because he wanted a long-distance trip. He certainly had no customer service skills."

Other passengers related more alarming experiences. Ashleigh Cadzow, a high school student from New Zealand, said his numerous unpleasant taxi episodes included a trip with a driver who made sexually suggestive gestures.

"I got into a taxi at Dubai Marina going to Jumeirah," he said. "Right from when I got into the taxi the driver was staring at me in the rear-view mirror and put his hand somewhere that made me very uncomfortable. I took the taxi number down and complained to the RTA.

"I don't think he would have dared to do that with an Emirati, so yes, cultural training and social etiquette courses are a very good idea."

One driver who asked not to be named said that he had heard of many such incidents, adding that they harmed the image of both the taxi service and the emirate.

"Drivers know from the way the passenger talks whether they live here or are tourists," he said. "It's the tourists that suffer the most from some. They don't know the way to where they want to go and they certainly don't know that they can complain to the RTA, so they are more easily taken advantage of."

ealghalib@thenational.ae

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Results:

5pm: Maiden (PA) | Dh80,000 | 1,200 metres

Winner: Jabalini, Szczepan Mazur (jockey), Younis Kalbani (trainer)

5.30pm: UAE Arabian Derby (PA) | Prestige | Dh150,000 | 2,200m

Winner: Octave, Gerald Avranche, Abdallah Al Hammadi

6pm: Arabian Triple Crown Round 3 (PA) | Group 3 Dh300,000 | 2,200m

Winner: Harrab, Richard Mullen, Mohamed Ali

6.30pm: Emirates Championship (PA) | Group 1 | Dh1million | 2,200m

Winner: BF Mughader, Szczepan Mazur, Younis Al Kalbani

7pm: Abu Dhabi Championship (TB) | Group 3 | Dh380,000 | 2,200m

Winner: GM Hopkins, Patrick Cosgrave, Jaber Ramadhan

7.30pm: Wathba Stallions Cup (PA) | Conditions | Dh70,000 | 1,600m

Winner: AF La’Asae, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel

Sweet Tooth

Creator: Jim Mickle
Starring: Christian Convery, Nonso Anozie, Adeel Akhtar, Stefania LaVie Owen
Rating: 2.5/5

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

TRAINING FOR TOKYO

A typical week's training for Sebastian, who is competing at the ITU Abu Dhabi World Triathlon on March 8-9:

  • Four swim sessions (14km)
  • Three bike sessions (200km)
  • Four run sessions (45km)
  • Two strength and conditioning session (two hours)
  • One session therapy session at DISC Dubai
  • Two-three hours of stretching and self-maintenance of the body

ITU Abu Dhabi World Triathlon

For more information go to www.abudhabi.triathlon.org.

Sukuk

An Islamic bond structured in a way to generate returns without violating Sharia strictures on prohibition of interest.

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

SPEC SHEET: APPLE IPHONE 14 PRO MAX

Display: 6.7" Super Retina XDR OLED, 2796 x 1290, 460ppi, 120Hz, 2000 nits max, HDR, True Tone, P3, always-on

Processor: A16 Bionic, 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Memory: 6GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB / 1TB

Platform: iOS 16

Main camera: Triple 48MP main (f/1.78) + 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2) + 12MP telephoto (f/2.8), 6x optical, 15x digital, Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Portrait Lighting

Main camera video: 4K @ 24/25/30/60fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD @ 30fps, slo-mo @ 120/240fps, ProRes (4K) @ 30fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Front camera: 12MP TrueDepth (f/1.9), Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Portrait Lighting; Animoji, Memoji

Front camera video: 4K @ 24/25/30/60fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, slo-mo @ 120/240fps, ProRes (4K) @ 30fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Battery: 4323mAh, up to 29h video, 25h streaming video, 95h audio; fast charge to 50% in 30min; MagSafe, Qi wireless charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay)

Biometrics: Face ID

I/O: Lightning

Durability: IP68, dust/splash/water resistant up to 6m up to 30min

Cards: Dual eSIM / eSIM + eSIM (US models use eSIMs only)

Colours: Deep purple, gold, silver, space black

In the box: iPhone 14 Pro Max, USB-C-to-Lightning cable, one Apple sticker

Price: Dh4,699 / Dh5,099 / Dh5,949 / Dh6,799

Leaderboard

15 under: Paul Casey (ENG)

-14: Robert MacIntyre (SCO)

-13 Brandon Stone (SA)

-10 Laurie Canter (ENG) , Sergio Garcia (ESP)

-9 Kalle Samooja (FIN)

-8 Thomas Detry (BEL), Justin Harding (SA), Justin Rose (ENG)

THE SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder

Transmission: Constant Variable (CVT)

Power: 141bhp 

Torque: 250Nm 

Price: Dh64,500

On sale: Now

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Mascotte Health

Started: 2023

Based: Miami, US

Founder: Bora Hamamcioglu

Sector: Online veterinary service provider

Investment stage: $1.2 million raised in seed funding

The specs

Engine: Dual synchronous electric motors
Power: 646hp
Torque: 830Nm
Transmission: Two-speed auto (rear axle); single-speed auto (front)
Price: From Dh552,311; Dh660,408 (as tested)
On sale: now

SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre turbo

Power: 181hp

Torque: 230Nm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Starting price: Dh79,000

On sale: Now

WITHIN SAND

Director: Moe Alatawi

Starring: Ra’ed Alshammari, Adwa Fahd, Muhand Alsaleh

Rating: 3/5

NEW ARRIVALS

Benjamin Mendy (Monaco) - £51.75m (Dh247.94m)
Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur) - £45.9m
Bernardo Silva (Monaco) - £45m
Ederson Moraes (Benfica) - £36m
Danilo (Real Madrid) - £27m
Douglas Luiz (Vasco de Gama) - £10.8m

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

The specs

Powertrain: Single electric motor
Power: 201hp
Torque: 310Nm
Transmission: Single-speed auto
Battery: 53kWh lithium-ion battery pack (GS base model); 70kWh battery pack (GF)
Touring range: 350km (GS); 480km (GF)
Price: From Dh129,900 (GS); Dh149,000 (GF)
On sale: Now

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Results

5pm: Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 1,400m; Winner: Faiza, Sandro Paiva (jockey), Ali Rashid Al Raihe (trainer).

5.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh90,000 1,400m; Winner: Greeley, Connor Beasley, Helal Al Alawi.

6pm: Emirates Fillies Classic Prestige (PA) Dh100,000 1,600m; Winner: Marzaga, Jim Crowley, Ana Mendez.

6.30pm: Emirates Colts Classic Prestige (PA) Dh100,000 1,600m; Winner: Jawaal, Jim Crowley, Majed Al Jahouri.

7pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 1,600m; Winner: AF Ashras, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel.

7.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 2,200m; Winner: Somoud, Richard Mullen, Ahmed Al Mehairbi.

Fight Night

FIGHT NIGHT

Four title fights:

Amir Khan v Billy Dib - WBC International title
Hughie Fury v Samuel Peter - Heavyweight co-main event  
Dave Penalosa v Lerato Dlamini - WBC Silver title
Prince Patel v Michell Banquiz - IBO World title

Six undercard bouts:

Michael Hennessy Jr v Abdul Julaidan Fatah
Amandeep Singh v Shakhobidin Zoirov
Zuhayr Al Qahtani v Farhad Hazratzada
Lolito Sonsona v Isack Junior
Rodrigo Caraballo v Sajid Abid
Ali Kiydin v Hemi Ahio

Forced Deportations

While the Lebanese government has deported a number of refugees back to Syria since 2011, the latest round is the first en-mass campaign of its kind, say the Access Center for Human Rights, a non-governmental organization which monitors the conditions of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

“In the past, the Lebanese General Security was responsible for the forced deportation operations of refugees, after forcing them to sign papers stating that they wished to return to Syria of their own free will. Now, the Lebanese army, specifically military intelligence, is responsible for the security operation,” said Mohammad Hasan, head of ACHR.
In just the first four months of 2023 the number of forced deportations is nearly double that of the entirety of 2022.

Since the beginning of 2023, ACHR has reported 407 forced deportations – 200 of which occurred in April alone.

In comparison, just 154 people were forcfully deported in 2022.

Violence

Instances of violence against Syrian refugees are not uncommon.

Just last month, security camera footage of men violently attacking and stabbing an employee at a mini-market went viral. The store’s employees had engaged in a verbal altercation with the men who had come to enforce an order to shutter shops, following the announcement of a municipal curfew for Syrian refugees.
“They thought they were Syrian,” said the mayor of the Nahr el Bared municipality, Charbel Bou Raad, of the attackers.
It later emerged the beaten employees were Lebanese. But the video was an exemplary instance of violence at a time when anti-Syrian rhetoric is particularly heated as Lebanese politicians call for the return of Syrian refugees to Syria.

SHAITTAN

Director: Vikas Bahl
Starring: Ajay Devgn, R. Madhavan, Jyothika, Janaki Bodiwala
Rating: 3/5

Profile box

Founders: Michele Ferrario, Nino Ulsamer and Freddy Lim
Started: established in 2016 and launched in July 2017
Based: Singapore, with offices in the UAE, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand
Sector: FinTech, wealth management
Initial investment: $500,000 in seed round 1 in 2016; $2.2m in seed round 2 in 2017; $5m in series A round in 2018; $12m in series B round in 2019; $16m in series C round in 2020 and $25m in series D round in 2021
Current staff: more than 160 employees
Stage: series D 
Investors: EightRoads Ventures, Square Peg Capital, Sequoia Capital India

Warlight,
Michael Ondaatje, Knopf 

LIVERPOOL TOP SCORERS

(Premier League only)
Mohamed Salah 129
Robbie Fowler 128
Steven Gerrard 120
Michael Owen 118
Sadio Mane 90

Company profile

Company name: Leap
Started: March 2021
Founders: Ziad Toqan and Jamil Khammu
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Funds raised: Undisclosed
Current number of staff: Seven

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

SPEC SHEET: APPLE M3 MACBOOK AIR (13")

Processor: Apple M3, 8-core CPU, up to 10-core CPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Display: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina, 2560 x 1664, 224ppi, 500 nits, True Tone, wide colour

Memory: 8/16/24GB

Storage: 256/512GB / 1/2TB

I/O: Thunderbolt 3/USB-4 (2), 3.5mm audio, Touch ID

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3

Battery: 52.6Wh lithium-polymer, up to 18 hours, MagSafe charging

Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD

Video: Support for Apple ProRes, HDR with Dolby Vision, HDR10

Audio: 4-speaker system, wide stereo, support for Dolby Atmos, Spatial Audio and dynamic head tracking (with AirPods)

Colours: Midnight, silver, space grey, starlight

In the box: MacBook Air, 30W/35W dual-port/70w power adapter, USB-C-to-MagSafe cable, 2 Apple stickers

Price: From Dh4,599

HOW TO ACTIVATE THE GEMINI SHORTCUT ON CHROME CANARY

1. Go to chrome://flags

2. Find and enable Expansion pack for the Site Search starter pack

3. Restart Chrome Canary

4. Go to chrome://settings/searchEngines in the address bar and find the Chat with Gemini shortcut under Site Search

5. Open a new tab and type @ to see the Chat with Gemini shortcut along with other Omnibox shortcuts to search tabs, history and bookmarks

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

UAE squad v Australia

Rohan Mustafa (C), Ashfaq Ahmed, Chirag Suri, Rameez Shahzad, Fahad Nawaz, Amjed Gul, Shaiman Anwar, Ahmed Raza, Imran Haider, Muhammad Naveed, Amir Hayat, Ghulam Shabir (WK), Qadeer Ahmed, Tahir Latif, Zahoor Khan

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

A Cat, A Man, and Two Women
Junichiro
Tamizaki
Translated by Paul McCarthy
Daunt Books 

TECH SPECS: APPLE IPHONE 14 PLUS

Display: 6.1" Super Retina XDR OLED, 2778 x 1284, 458ppi, HDR, True Tone, P3, 1200 nits

Processor: A15 Bionic, 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine 

Memory: 6GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB

Platform: iOS 16

Main camera: Dual 12MP main (f/1.5) + 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.4); 2x optical, 5x digital; Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Portrait Lighting

Main camera video: 4K @ 24/25/3060fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD @ 30fps; HD slo-mo @ 120/240fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Front camera: 12MP TrueDepth (f/1.9), Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4; Animoji, Memoji; Portrait Lighting

Front camera video: 4K @ 24/25/3060fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD slo-mo @ 120fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Battery: 4323 mAh, up to 26h video, 20h streaming video, 100h audio; fast charge to 50% in 30m; MagSafe, Qi wireless charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay)

Biometrics: Face ID

I/O: Lightning

Cards: Dual eSIM / eSIM + SIM (US models use eSIMs only)

Colours: Blue, midnight, purple, starlight, Product Red

In the box: iPhone 14, USB-C-to-Lightning cable, one Apple sticker

Price: Dh3,799 / Dh4,199 / Dh5,049

Pakistan World Cup squad

Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abid Ali, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez(subject to fitness), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Junaid Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain      

Two additions for England ODIs: Mohammad Amir and Asif Ali

TWISTERS

Director:+Lee+Isaac+Chung

Starring:+Glen+Powell,+Daisy+Edgar-Jones,+Anthony+Ramos

Rating:+2.5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: BorrowMe (BorrowMe.com)

Date started: August 2021

Founder: Nour Sabri

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: E-commerce / Marketplace

Size: Two employees

Funding stage: Seed investment

Initial investment: $200,000

Investors: Amr Manaa (director, PwC Middle East)

MATCH INFO

Red Star Belgrade v Tottenham Hotspur, midnight (Thursday), UAE


The UAE Today

The latest news and analysis from the Emirates

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy
      The UAE Today