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Friday, June 18, 2021

Hailed a success, tamper-proof taxi meters to be added to all Qatar cabs

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

Lauding the decline of passenger complaints since it began rolling out a new taxi meter system last year, state-backed transportation company Mowasalat has said it plans to install the devices in all of its franchised cars in the near future.

Mowasalat began outfitting some of its 4,000-car fleet of Karwas with the meters last summer, in response to increasing customer outrage over being overcharged by drivers who doctored the devices or said they were broken and set their own rates.

Speaking to the Qatar Tribune, a Mowasalat official said that passenger complaints have declined by 50 percent since the new meters were rolled out.

The devices apparently send an alert to the main office if tampered with, and are also outfitted with displays that show GPS coordinates, a driver’s full name and other information.

Bane for drivers

However, while the system may be a boon for customers, many taxi drivers have complained that the new meters have cost them hundreds of riyals in forsaken or withheld wages.

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

Last month, airport taxi drivers – who are only allowed to pick up fares from Hamad International – complained to Doha News about the recently installed GPS systems.

Because they were being more strictly monitored, the drivers said they could no longer pick up any additional passengers to supplement their salaries before returning to the airport without facing sanctions.

Other drivers said Mowasalat has been garnishing their wages for allegedly breaking traffic rules or returning cars with scratches or dents – even if they did not receive any actual citations from police.

One said there was no way to contest the penalties because drivers are not told of the location, date or nature of the offense, leaving them wondering if it was a parking infraction, moving violation or damage to the vehicle.

Fleet franchises

Over the past few years, Mowasalat has been in the process of franchising its fleet.

Around half of the company’s taxis are operated by t blue-roofed cars from Al Ijarah, maroon-roofed cars from Al Million, yellow-roofed Profit taxis and dark grey-roofed Capital Taxis.

Profit Group taxis.
Profit Group taxis.

However, in recent months customers have not been able to individually call the franchised operators, which must all charge the same rate but have tried to distinguish themselves based on customer service and other offerings.

Instead, there is now one unified number – 800TAXI (8008294) – that passengers can call to book the car that is closest to their location, a move that Mowasalat officials said would lead to “faster and better” service to clients.

Some have welcomed the idea of a unified bookings system, as drivers would have to spend less time touring the city and touting for business.

But others say the change has made it impossible to book taxis in advance, leading to long waiting times for passengers in areas that are not frequently trafficked by drivers.

Thoughts?

25 COMMENTS

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A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

good move, now to improve the wages and living conditions of the drivers.
People, always tip a minimum of 10 or so riyals regardless of the fare…

PS, i don’t understand why karwa doesn’t just hire drivers from the philipines. In my experience philipinos take greater in their work and will always ensure the car is in best condition.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

There are few things coming together – the Philippine economy is starting to hum (relatively speaking of course) and drivers can make a more competitive salary back home. Some other GCC countries are much more competitive than Qatar, and skilled Filipinos are getting harder to attract to Qatar when they could do much better elsewhere. They often do 1 contract in Qatar and then head to the UAE. The Philippines is also actively discouraging people from accepting low-pay, low-skill jobs in the GCC – the cost/benefit analysis doesn’t work out and the country would much rather expat Filipinos take higher-skill and higher-salary jobs where they are less likely to become a burden on the POEA/POLO system and where they develop useful skills to take back to the Philippines. There is also a big push to get Filipinos to stay in the Philippines and use their talents to develop the country. The short answer is that Filipinos are getting harder to recruit.

Michkey
Michkey
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

So, the root of the problem is Karwa / subsidiary companies want to make a ton more money than they should?

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Michkey

How did you come to that conclusion from my comment

Michkey
Michkey
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

It’s not a conclusion, but a question. The drivers are working as hard they could to make a living, the customer’s are not satisfied with the service. The fare amounts are standard I would say. so I am asking how much hit the provider has to take to improve the drivers’ condition as that seemed to be the issue. Logically, they have to reduce their profit margin to solve this, but will they?

johnny wang
johnny wang
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Perhaps Karwa does not get more of them because Karwa knows that many of them are part of the ongoing problems. The big smiles on the faces could be very deceiving sometimes

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 years ago
Reply to  johnny wang

😀

Elusive Snake
Elusive Snake
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Probable reasons are – The company’s visa allocation for Filipinos, more documentary requirements to hire and deploy Filipino drivers and it takes a longer time for Filipinos to be deployed.

taurz
taurz
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

When it comes to wages, Filipinos are a bit more “expensive” compared to other nationalities. For a company that thinks ONLY about profits rather than the well being of the passengers, or the drivers, its an easy decision to make – avoid the nationalities that demand more.

driver
driver
6 years ago

Finally . The number of times I got ripped off because I wasn’t looking.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  driver

The number of times I started an argument with the driver because I was looking and I discovered he was cheating. 🙂

Frustrated
Frustrated
6 years ago

But what to do for taxis and drivers who do not take on board passengers because they don’t want to go to the traveller’s destination? Has happened so many times and the reporting the taxi number by calling does not result in anything.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

The decreasing number of complaints could also be due to many fed up customers switching to Uber and Careem

sicti
sicti
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

+1 here

.
.
6 years ago

It’s always been impossible to book a taxi. Drivers don’t
want to put the meter on and ask you to pay double no matter what meter they have. If you dont agree, they put you out of the car in the middle of the road. I
use Karwa every day and I’m sure they will find another way to keep on robbing
us! I also agree with the fact that Pilipino are way more honest than others. Complaints are decreasing because no one answers calls or people use Uber instead.

yesjay
yesjay
6 years ago

What we really needed is a balanced act, where by Karwa, their Drivers and Passengers do benefit from the service. Normally drivers don’t try to loot passenger when they are getting paid a decent salary apart from tips, which is what Karwa should make sure on the first hand, later Drivers are to be taught to communicate and behave with passengers in a respective manner irrespective of their appearance. Moreover, I agree with comment of A_qtr about Philippine drivers.

Rahma
Rahma
6 years ago
Reply to  yesjay

I agree that when drivers are happy it is seen in their service. I have tried Mowasalt before, always late, if they ever do show up.

Mark
Mark
6 years ago

Ever since Uber came to Doha a year ago, my wife and I have rarely used Karwa except at the airport. Problems with meters, negotiating with sometimes surly drivers, inexperienced drivers, dirty vehicles, having to find the taxis (ever try finding a taxi when at Ikea?) – Uber eliminates all those problems. No need to make a reservation – just call them, and a clean vehicle will come to you wherever you are. No discussion over fares, it’s all taken care of automatically. Occasionally a driver has given us bottled water – now that’s service. The whole process where customers rate the drivers keeps the quality high. Taxis are a dying business in many cities, and they will be in Doha very soon if they’re not already.

Leonard
Leonard
6 years ago
Reply to  Mark

I’ll be moving to Doha in a few weeks time from Australia. I’m very happy to hear Uber is available and easy to use in Doha. Just compared fares and it looks like Uber Doha is even cheaper than Uber Sydney. Awesome!

sicti
sicti
6 years ago
Reply to  Leonard

Check also Careem, is a good alternative, although they have fewer cars.

FalconFlyer
FalconFlyer
6 years ago

I don’t understand why the taxi model is not working in Qatar with Karwa. They have to just mimic what is being done done in Dubai. Its not perfect but it is working much better than Doha. The bookings are on time, the drivers are monitored hence courteous and the fare by meter.
Why is it so difficult here. I have never got a Karwa taxi to agree on the first attempt. 5 out of 5 times, the meter is broken or I am overcharged. We have to put up with it as there is no other alternative.

sicti
sicti
6 years ago
Reply to  FalconFlyer

Because Mowasalat does not care, as simple as that.

Jade
Jade
6 years ago

I just got cheated again with the neW metered taxi system. What are you saying they can’t tamper it. Of course they can, that’s a lie! I just experienced it. I hail a karwa taxi on the road. Al sadd area going to umm guwalina. I got in and saw the meter was already 9 rials plus 4 rials booking is also showing. (I believed his PAX just left and he did not reset the meter) I did not say anything until I get off and only gave him what he is due for. I gave 20 rials which is for sure far more than the actual cost. Driver then said he needs 30 plus the 4 rials booking. Same old excuses and lies!

F A Joseph
F A Joseph
6 years ago
Reply to  Jade

Really fed up with all that Taxis and specially at Villagio that all the taxis refuses to go by the Meter and they accept for meter slowly the turn the tariff to 0 as it is outside of Qatar or Night after 9pm.
The best joke is recently i approached the Kharwa Supervisor at Al meera mansura for the Taxi and there were taxis but he convinced me to go by the private taxi

Vanessa
Vanessa
6 years ago

Pay the drivers a living wage – and actually PAY, not WITHHOLD – and perhaps they won’t be so inclined to rip people off. 8 men living in one room, being lied to about their salary which they receive late anyway… they are doing what they have to do to make ends meet. Does that make them ripping people off okay? NO! But remember that these drivers are being ripped off as well!

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