Taxi fare increases accepted after petrol price rise

Taxi drivers and their passengers have described tomorrow's increase in fares for the capital's silver taxis as fair.

ABU DHABI // Taxi drivers and their passengers have described tomorrow's increase in fares for the capital's silver taxis as fair, in light of recent petrol price rises. The Centre for Regulation of Transport by Hire Cares (TransAD) announced on Thursday that starting tomorrow, the capital's silver taxis will charge a Dh1d for every 750 metres travelled. Previously, it used to cost Dh1 for every kilometre. The flag fare - Dh3 during the day and Dh3.60 for night rides - will remain unchanged.

It means that a trip from Al Wahda Mall to the Emirates Palace, a distance of around eight kilometres previously costing Dh11, would now cost three dirhams more. A taxi trip from the Marina Mall to the Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel and Resort at the other end of the Corniche - a distance of some 10km - would cost about Dh15, compared to Dh13 under the new fare structure. Many of Abu Dhabi's taxi drivers welcomed the slight increase in fares, saying it "makes sense" to implement it following the increases in fuel prices announced last month. Each litre of petrol sold in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Northern Emirates became 20 fils more expensive last month - a 14 per cent increase in price. It was the second price rise in three months, following the 15 fils addition per litre that was announced in April. Junaid Mohammed, 34, arrived in the capital from Karachi, Pakistan three years ago, and has been driving a taxi here ever since. "There is big difference how much it used to cost me to fill up my tank," he said. "Before, maybe Dh40 to Dh50 would be enough for a full tank, and now it is usually Dh70, maybe more. The difference is too much." Mr Mohammed believes that his passengers might not even notice the slight increase in price. "They will not feel it too much, which is good for us drivers because we will not get complaints." Drivers Aziz Rahman, 37, from Pakistan and Nuzrul Islam, 26, from Bangladesh, said it is "not fair" that cost of living would go up, but their fares would remain the same. "Drivers of private vehicles have to pay extra for fuel, and they really feel it," said Mr Rahman. "Passengers must also feel the increase of price that all of us face by paying a little extra for their transportation." Mr Islam added that the increased traffic congestion in the streets of the capital also affects their daily profits. "We are stuck in traffic jams for longer and more often, year by year, which means we end up with less passengers, so to make up for that, a slight increase in our fare makes sense," he said.

Mary Grace Tabaosares, 35, arrived from the Philippines four years ago to work as a nurse in Abu Dhabi. She does not have a car; she prefers to ride the bus or share a taxi cab with a colleague. "I try to always take the bus because it is cheaper, but when I need to, I take a taxi instead because it is still affordable," she said. "I don't think I will feel the increase in price very much, it will just be a few extra dirhams, which is fine." Baiju Gopinathan, 33, from India, ferries his family of four - two daughters and his wife - around town in a taxi. Parking woes, he said, are not worth owning a car. "We ride taxis all the time, so maybe for us we will feel the price increase a little, even though it is a very negligible rise," he said. "But it makes no sense to complain, it is life," he added. For taxi driver Mohammed Igoulalene, 29, from Morocco, the increase is certainly welcomed; however, he said, his one concern is in what may happen to his tips. "Maybe passengers instead of giving us those few extra dirhams in tips, will just pay the fare and think it is enough, since it is a bit more than usual," he said. "I hope that doesn't happen."