A third private taxi company will hit Qatar’s streets this summer, Mowasalat has announced. Some 300 yellow-roofed Petro Qatar taxis will join fellow franchisees Al Million (which have maroon roofs) and Alijarah (which have blue roofs) in June.
Al Million and Alijarah have also said that they will add 150 more taxis each to their existing fleets of 500. Petro Qatar said it expects to add a further 200 taxis by the end of the year, bringing the total number of franchised Karwa cabs on Qatar’s streets to 1,800. More than 3,000 taxis overall currently operate in the country.
Franchised taxis were introduced a year ago to try to ease the burden on the existing Karwa fleet, which was struggling to meet demand, with some customers finding it impossible to book at taxi at short notice.
Nasser Al Khanji, Strategy and Business Development Director of Mowasalat, told journalists yesterday that the expansion of the franchise is part of the company’s commitment to “improving the quality” of taxis services in Qatar.
But thus far, adding more taxis to the roads does not appear to have ameliorated the quality of service issue.
Many Qatar residents have expressed continuous dissatisfaction with Karwa taxis, regardless of which company is operating them. The most common complaints are that some drivers are turning their meters off and charging high fares, or that they are unable find their way around the city.
The franchisees are required to charge the same metered rates as their gray-roofed Karwa counterparts, but operate separate call centers.
Franchised taxis are not allowed to pick up passengers from the airport, but can operate in all other areas of the city.
Do you think the additional taxis will make a difference? Have you noticed an improvement in taxi services in the past year, or the opposite?
Credit: Photo courtesy of Wasapinworld