Sharjah commuters unhappy about taxi fare hike

The charge came into affect earlier this month, with passengers now having to pay at least Dh11.50, up from Dh10, when they enter a taxi.
Advantage taxis drive up a side street in Sharjah. Commuters say the hike in taxi fares is unlikely to deter them from using cabs. Amy Leang / The National
Advantage taxis drive up a side street in Sharjah. Commuters say the hike in taxi fares is unlikely to deter them from using cabs. Amy Leang / The National

SHARJAH // Commuters say a rise in the minimum taxi fare is an unwelcome burden on their wallets, but is unlikely to deter them from taking cabs.

The charge came into effect earlier this month, and passengers now have to pay at least Dh11.50, up from Dh10, when they enter a taxi.

Sharjah’s Roads and Transport Authority informed cabbies and commuters about the rise with a leaflet campaign, although the increase still took many by surprise.

An official at the authority said the new fare will remain unchanged for the next three months, but after that prices will be revised on a monthly basis in accordance with changes in the petrol price.

Public bus fares were not affected.

“I don’t have a driving licence yet, so I am using taxis all day long,” Ahmed Rida said.

“When you add up the extra Dh1.5 in each ride over the course of a month, the tally will be big and coming out of my pocket.”

However, the 32-year old added that, despite the increase in cost, the option of commuting by bus, which is much cheaper than the taxi, would take too long.

University student R K complained that taxis are the only viable transport for youngsters, and was worried that the additional cost would have to be borne by his parents and could limit his travel options.

“Most teens don’t have cars and use taxis to go out meet friends in the mall,” the 19-year-old, from India, said. “The new minimum fare will make them think twice before waving for a cab.”

The price increase makes taxis in Sharjah the second most expensive in the UAE. Taking a cab in Dubai is the most costly, with a minimum fare of Dh12, while in Ajman passengers have to pay at least Dh10.

Commuters in Abu Dhabi enjoy much lower fares, starting at Dh3.5 with a minimum Dh10 fare applying only after 10pm.

Cab fares in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah start at Dh3, day or night.

Taxi drivers said the rise caught many customers off guard and some of them refused to pay the increased fee.

“The first client I had was a woman and when she saw the new price she said that she was not aware of the change and that she will lodge a complaint to the RTA,” 32-year-old A M said.

The changes to fares would be most keenly felt by low income residents, Rana Khalid said.

“My two-way taxi drive is less than five minutes each way, and the minimum Dh10 is more than I should pay. It’s not fare to hike the prices more,” the 27-year-old said.

In August, the Ministry of Energy deregulated the price of gas and diesel. The move came to support the national economy, lowering fuel consumption, protecting the environment and preserving national resources.

tzriqat@thenational.ae

Published: October 22, 2015 04:00 AM

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