Dubai’s RTA launches taxi service for the disabled and elderly

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) launched the ‘Awnak’ service, which was described as a cross between an ambulance and a taxi.

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DUBAI // A taxi service for the disabled, elderly and those undergoing medical treatment has been launched in Dubai.

The Awnak service, described as a cross between an ambulance and a taxi, is the only one of its kind in the region.

It has been set up by the Roads and Transport Authority.

“The new service, which is the first of its kind in the region, meets the rising demand for specialist transit services to meet the needs of patients, the disabled and the elderly,” said Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of the board and executive director of the authority.

“It is also considered a forward step in providing welfare services in support of the medical care in the emirate.

“Before introducing this service, the RTA coordinated with the Department of Health Authority and the Unified Ambulance Service, and a set of conditions were agreed for service providers, including that vehicles must be tailor-made to lift the disabled, in line with the approved specifications of the RTA and other groups in the emirate.

“Drivers will be hand-picked and trained up to level 3 of delivering services to non-emergency cases.”

Mr Al Tayer said the service could be used by patients undergoing surgery who needed to be transferred from their homes to a clinic, or in-patients who are being transferred to another hospital.

The service was launched following an initiative by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, that aims to make the city a disabled-friendly place by 2020.