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Thursday, March 4, 2021

New company to monitor, improve standards of Qatar’s taxis

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

In a bid to improve the quality and service of Qatar’s taxi system, a new company is being set up to monitor cabs across the nation.

The Taxi Management Office will be established by state transport operator Mowasalat, and will be responsible for establishing and enforcing basic quality standards that must be adhered to by all taxi operators.

The news was announced by Mowasalat’s Director of Taxi and Limousine services Ali Bahzad, who was quoted by the Peninsula during the recent International Association of Public Transport conference at the Qatar National Convention Center.

Taxi line at City Center mall.
Taxi line at City Center mall.

Meanwhile, it appears that Mowasalat is also planning to tighten regulations for limousine companies in a way that could put many small-scale operators out of business.

According to a senior official quoted by Gulf Times, the organization is “fine-tuning” new rules that, when implemented, would only permit qualified companies to run limousine services.

There are a wide range of limousine services offered in Qatar – from big, well-known companies with hundreds of cars, to those with just a couple of drivers. Standards of service vary widely.

These operate separately from the official turquoise taxis that fall under the Karwa brand run by Mowasalat.

The proposed reforms would require limousine operators to have a minimum number of vehicles and a corresponding number of drivers under their sponsorship.

“As of now, there is a general feeling among the public that an overwhelming majority of the limousines on Qatar’s roads are nothing but an extension of the usual taxi services. As a responsible operator, Mowasalat has understood the need of setting things in order so that there would not be any rampant misuse of limousine services,” Gulf Times quotes the unnamed source as saying.

The owners of some of the four franchises operating Karwa cars have complained about the service provided by some of these limousines and welcome the new regulations, the newspaper added.

Changes planned

Qatar’s taxi service regularly comes under fire as customers complain about poor service, a shortage of cars at peak times and unreliable booking systems.

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

Drivers who don’t use the meter, pretending it is broken, are often a cause of ire for customers.

Earlier this summer, Mowasalat atttempted to address this by announcing the introduction of tamper-proof meters that would be rolled-out across its fleet.

And earlier this month, Mowasalat said it planned to introduce by the end of the year a unified call center covering all the Karwa taxis in Qatar, to provide a “faster and better” service to clients.

By December this year, there should be around 4,000 taxis on the roads of Qatar. Mowasalat runs 1,200 of them, while the remainder are operated by four private franchises.

Mowasalat has previously said its target is to have a total of 7,000 cars plying their trade on the streets in advance of the World Cup in 2022.

Plans are also afoot to entirely privatize the Karwa fleet by 2017, with a further two companies planned to come on board to run the taxis, while Mowasalat withdraws to operate solely as regulator.

The fifth firm will be announced by May next year, increasing the number of taxis on the road to 4,500, Qatar Tribune quotes Bahzad as saying at the ITUC conference.

Thoughts?

8 COMMENTS

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disqus_21uQ1hXhE0
disqus_21uQ1hXhE0
6 years ago

If they’ve introduced tamper proof meters, I’ve yet to see them. Every Karwa taxi I’ve tried to take in the last month has declined to turn on the meter. @Dohanews since Uber has joined the market, have you investigated their practices here? They’re under fire else where for shortchanging their drivers elsewhere, and I’m curious to know what’s their deal.

MN
MN
6 years ago

I’ve been using the services of Uber for months, 2 to 3 times daily. They are excellent. Always timely, very polite, very clean. The fare is never tempered with. Drivers don’t even interfere with that, they just drop you off wherever you want to go and the final amount is charged to your credit card through their mobile application, according to the distance marked on gps and traffic status. I rarely ever complained from their services.

greg
greg
6 years ago
Reply to  MN

True, this service is excelent!
and you just need to pin point where you are and where you go….
Not like explaining to be picked up from: Next to supermarket close to that roundabout after the signal, left of the petrol station, after the pharmacy, before the mini market then take 2nd left, 3ed right after the second crossroad…

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

Perhaps, just perhaps if the Taxi companies provided equitable pay and conditions a lot of the complaints would soon disappear as the driver would be more inclined to play by the rules. The public would be more satisfied with the service if the drivers were looked after better. Secondly the companies should clean the car at each change over of shift making them more pleasant to be in? Lastly mke it easy to ring and book, that is why the majority of western expats use ‘limousine’ services, because they are reliable. Hoepfully point 2 and 3 will be the responsibility of the new regulatory authority, sadly I think point one will yet again be ignored as human capital and fair pay and conditions are not something anyone in power in Qatar really cares for. Address the cause and the symptoms will disappear, appears yet again Qatar has it the wrong way about. (Is that better Shabina?)

jalong
jalong
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

There has to be a carrot and a stick–simply raising pay won’t eliminate scofflaws. They rip you off because they can get away with it, as happens all over the world.

A lot of workers are paid poorly in this country but I’ve never had, say, a delivery driver withhold my food unless I pay him extra…which is why I tip them much better than taxi drivers.

johnny wang
johnny wang
6 years ago

Exactly, that’s the need of the hour. How about first if they could start by sending the guys behind the wheels of this taxis for retrainings and refreshers so they are made aware of how to deal with their passengers and not to spread their misery around to the passengers travelling in their taxis. They should also be kept aware that the fare meter is installed in their vehicles to calculate and to show the fare and not as some digital decoration. Trying to cheat passengers, choosing whom they pick and whom they don’t and other corrupt practices gives this guys plenty of the wrong publicity which a majority of them certainly deserve

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

i wish i was the head of karwa… i’d fix this company in six month tops… first thing I would do is hire Filipino drivers and not renew the contract with any other nationality…

The majority of Filipinos are good Christians and Muslims, very polite, friendly and like them or not their positive attitude is contagious..

most of all they are CLEAN and take pride in their work and service… current taxis are so filthy because they reflect on the driver… they could not care less for their personal hygiene let alone that of someone else’s property.. and given their low wages they have no vested interest in keeping the cars clean…

I’ve seen London cabs with over 300k miles on them that are spotless… cause the driver is English and is comfortably paid… while NY cabs that are just filthy coz guess where the driver is from..

if you place an add for a 1,500 QR per month plus benefits and accommodation for any Filipino driver with a GCC license for over ten years.. they’ll come pouring into the country!

BigDaddyDK
BigDaddyDK
6 years ago

The Taxi Management Office — Ensuring that you have a more pleasant miserable experience in our taxis.

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