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Monday, April 19, 2021

Dark-grey roofed Capital Taxis to hit Qatar roads this week

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

State-backed transportation company Mowasalat will roll out its fourth taxi franchise this week, advancing on its plans to increase the number of cabs on Doha’s roads by 1,000 before year-end.

The first Capital Taxis, operated by Ibin Ajayan Group, were initially supposed to hit the streets in August or September and have green roofs, according to an announcement made earlier this year by Mowasalat’s CEO.

An Ibin Ajayan Group spokesperson told Doha News that the taxis will now have dark-grey roofs, but declined to comment further.

However, the company’s consultant CEO told Gulf Times that the taxis will distinguish themselves from the competition by providing better customer service. Ravi Pillai was quoted as saying:

“Almost 100% of our taxi drivers have previous experience in the GCC states, including Qatar and they are extremely familiar with the road conditions in the region, in particular in the country.”

Pillai also told the newspaper that the drivers are offered the “best package” and are hired on a salary basis, adding that additional monetary incentives would be offered to those who continue to go beyond the daily monetary income target set by Mowasalat.

Customer service is a sore issue for many residents who use Karwa taxis, and complaints about rude drivers who overcharge or refuse certain customers are common.

On the other hand, most taxi drivers here say they are overworked and underpaid, which leading some of them no choice but to cheat passengers to eke out a living.

Franchise fees cut

Mowasalat first began talking about introducing franchised taxi groups to “increase competition” in 2011. However, all taxis that operate under the Karwa brand must charge rates set by the government.

This may change by 2017, when Mowasalat hopes to step back from operating taxis and privatize the industry, serving instead as a regulator to a total of six franchises.

Advancing on this plan, the Ministry of Transport said earlier this month that it would slash taxi franchise fees by 33 percent in a bid to help support public transportation services, according to the Peninsula.

Profit Group taxis.
Profit Group taxis.

The reduction came into force on Oct. 1 and will last for the next five years.

However, many franchises told Doha News that they had not heard about the rate cut, and were not yet sure how they would spend the windfall.

However, a spokesperson from the Profit Group, whose company began introducing yellow-roofed taxis to Doha last month, said:

“We make sure that our drivers are paid a decent wage. The remaining money will be used in maintaining the quality of our taxis and ensuring that they are always on the road.”

Expansion by numbers

Currently, some 3,000 turquoise Karwa taxis are operating on Qatar’s roads. Mowasalat’s gray-roofed cars account for around 1,200 of them, while the maroon-roofed Al Million and blue-roofed Al Ijarah taxis collectively operate roughly 1,800 cars.

By the end of this year, the Profit Group and Ibin Ajayan are expected to launch 500 new taxis each, with both companies rolling out some 50 cars a week. If all goes according to plan, Mowasalat’s taxi fleet will reach some 4,000 cars by the end of the year.

The expansion comes as Karwa celebrates 10 years of operation.

Mowasalat also aims to more than double its taxi fleet to 7,000 for the 2022 World Cup in a bid to cater to the one million fans expected to attend the tournament.

Thoughts?

10 COMMENTS

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Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

Maroon, yellow, green, grey… keep calm and uber on

sicti
sicti
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

Or keep calm and careem on 🙂

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  sicti

same as uber?

sicti
sicti
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

Same as Uber

Restie
Restie
6 years ago

“Almost 100% of our taxi drivers have previous experience in the GCC states, including Qatar and they are extremely familiar with the road conditions in the region, in particular in the country.”

Translation: “Almost 100% of our taxi drivers are unaware of the purpose of the indicator stalk, and will brake suddenly at the sight of a shadow on the road side, in particular when you are in high speed traffic.”

Chris
Chris
6 years ago
Reply to  Restie

I hope when you call for a taxi, the waiting time is less than 6 hours!

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
6 years ago

In the past week I have taken four Karwa taxis. In every instance, the driver DID NOT turn on the meter and instead asked ‘What would you like to pay?’. In one instance, the meter had been taped over in black tape. To my experience, It appears that this is the institutional NORM for Karwa taxi drivers. :-p

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

Lol. So much for tamper proof meters.

brorick
brorick
6 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

I didnt buy a car for so long when I lived here but got increasingly frustrated with taxi drivers..just before I got my car if a taxi driver didnt turn on the meter I’d refuse to pay more than 10 QAR

Ravi
Ravi
6 years ago

Why aren’t they increasing the bus service?Out of 100% taxis 10-20% will be by private unlicensed taxis.

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