In what appears to be the first such court case in Qatar, a Karwa taxi driver has been sent to jail for a month for overcharging passengers and driving off without giving them their change, the Peninsula reports.
According to the newspaper, the driver ferried two male passengers from Souq Waqif to their hotel, where he demanded QR10 more than the QR25 fare displayed on the meter.
They refused, and instead of giving them their change, the driver drove off with the QR50 note they’d given him. The passengers took down the driver’s number and reported the incident to the police.
The driver will be deported after he has served his sentence.
The case comes amid a barrage of complaints from passengers on social media about what appears to be the deteriorating state of Qatar’s taxi system. Chief complaints include drivers switching off their meters (saying they are “broken”), refusing rides and not knowing where to go.
It also seems that in some isolated cases, meter disputes have been getting ugly.
The Peninsula relates a story of two Indian passengers who recently had to call the police after a taxi driver threatened to hit them as they tried to take photographs of his meter.
And Australian expat Allison Tett told Doha News she recently had her brand new iPhone 5 stolen by a taxi driver in a frightening late-night encounter.
According to Tett, the taxi picked her up outside of the W Doha around 1am and took her back to her compound, but didn’t turn on the meter. He asked for QR40 – double the usual fare she paid when traveling that route. She asked him to stick to the rules, that if the meter isn’t on, the fare is free. Tett continues:
I walked away, but he followed me in the car. Then he got out of the car, and started harassing me verbally. He insisted the meter had been on, but it hadn’t. He was shouting – he said he’d call the police.
I replied that I’d do it instead, so I got my new iPhone 5 out of my handbag, to call the police and take a photo – but then he just took the phone, put it in his top pocket, and drove away. I was crying hysterically.”
Tett said that she has reported the issue to the police and to Al Million.
The police are liaising with Ooredoo to see if they can trace the phone. CCTV footage at both the hotel and her compound has proved inconclusive, and although she says Al Million have been “very helpful”, showing her photos of all of their drivers, she has been unable to identify him.
Mowasalat has not yet respond to a request for comment.
Have you had an issue with a taxi driver in Doha recently? Thoughts?