Taxi customers should complain 'if they feel they are being cheated'

Some drivers are allegedly telling passengers that multiple stops are no longer allowed.

Passengers can go to any destination they want, an RTA officer has said.
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DUBAI // If passengers feel they are being cheated by unscrupulous taxi drivers, they should lay an official complaint, say transport officials.

Passengers have been told by some drivers that multiple stops are no longer allowed, and that the meter would be reset for each stop.

Transport chiefs said there is no such rule and advised passengers to contact the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to clarify their concerns.

"Passengers can go to any destination they want," said Furat Al Amri, the director of the franchise and monitoring department at the RTA.

A driver's "trip will be managed by the meter and as soon as the meter starts working, he can make 1,000 drop-offs if he wants".

He added: "If something is not right the customer has the right to call the RTA number and it will be sent straight to the complaints committee to investigate."

The RTA said the most common complaint it receives is the refusal of taxis to pick up passengers during rush hour, said Hussain Ali Al Bana, the manager of franchise services at the RTA.

Another common complaint is that driving skills are poor.

Mr Al Bana said, however, that the public were not always aware that drivers often change shifts during rush hour.

"The passenger flags the taxi and sees it is empty but doesn't know he is going back to change shift and he makes a complaint," he said.

Mr Al Amri added that because of complaints, some of the six taxi companies have changed their shift start times to 2pm.

"We check with all the companies if he [a driver] was changing shift at the time of the complaint," Mr Al Amri said. In that case, no fine will be issued.

In the case of pre-ordered bookings that do not arrive, the RTA will begin targeting the companies instead of the drivers. Currently, drivers are fined Dh200 if they refuse three bookings.

"We study the amount of rejected orders monthly and we check each company and see how many were sent a request from dispatch and we set a fine for the number of refusals," Mr Al Amri said.

The amount of the fine has not been set.

"It is targeted at the companies and not the drivers," Mr Al Bana said.

"The complaints and the fines will be calculated on the company. We want them to work with us and to follow the rules. Some are doing it but we need them to supervise and focus on them outside."

All new drivers train with the RTA. Previously, each taxi franchise would train the drivers themselves according to RTA guidelines.

"Then we are 100 per cent sure the training is done to our level," Mr Al Amri said.