Sharjah’s illegal taxis going upmarket: 2016 model caught carrying premium passengers
SHARJAH // When thinking about illegal taxis, a fully loaded 2016 Honda Accord isn’t what springs to mind.
However, that was the standard being offered to premium passengers in Sharjah before the owner of the car was accosted and fined by Sharjah Roads and Transport Authority inspectors.
“Inspectors caught the man in a car with two passengers. He told them he bought the car from a resident before he left the country and he started using it for residents who were willing to pay more for air-conditioning, LCD screens and a comfortable ride,” said Rashid Al Nuaimi, head of the fines department at the authority.
There has been an increase in illegal cabs operating in Sharjah during the first eight months of the year, compared to the same period last year.
“Inspectors issued 1,724 fines up until the end of August, while last year 1,176 fines were handed out to violators,” Mr Al Nuaimi said.
He attributes the increase in illegal cabbies to the increase in residents living and commuting to other emirates.
“There is a high demand for these illegal operations; people need to reach their destinations in faster transport than buses [while] paying a cheaper fee than a legally operating taxi,” he added.
The Rolla area of Sharjah and Al Jubeil bus station are the main locations for these illegal activities, he said. “We monitor hot spots in the industrial areas as well; they typically are found near the labour accommodation camps and provide a fast and cheaper ways to reach the capital and Dubai,” said Mr Al Nuaimi.
Passengers are at risk of getting entangled in illegal activities, he added.
“They don’t know the driver. He might be in violation of residency laws, or has a criminal record. Also, the car might be uninsured, passengers potentially can be entangled in legal complications for being with the driver if he was caught by police,” said Mr Al Nuami.
Inspectors intensify their crackdown during long holidays such as Eid Al Fitr, which have seen an increase in number of fines handed out to illegal cabbies.
In Abu Dhabi, police impounded more than 100 cars and arrested 50 drivers in a crackdown on illegal taxis transporting passengers from the main airport.
Drivers found to be operating illegal taxis face fines of Dh5,000 to Dh10,000 and/or 30 days in jail, according to Abu Dhabi Police.
Published: September 27, 2016 04:00 AM