DUBAI // Taxi fares in the emirate will rise by 6.8 per cent from Friday to offset fuel costs, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced.
Transport officials yesterday said the move to raise fares by 11 fils to Dh1.71 per kilometre travelled was not applicable to meter starting tariffs, which will not change. The revision will not generate extra profit for the RTA or its five licenced taxi companies, it said.
The RTA said the move became necessary amid repeated objections from the taxi franchisees regarding higher petrol costs. Each litre of the fuel sold in the Emirates became 20 fils more expensive in August last year, a 14 per cent increase and the second price rise in three months following a 15 fils per litre rise in April.
“Over the last period we have faced a serious problem with the franchise companies operating in Dubai,” said Eisa Abdul-Rahman al Dosari, the chief executive of the RTA’s public transport agency. “These companies complained of the high fuel prices that do not match the current tariff in place, which might result in them incurring losses, or even ceasing business altogether.”
Describing the fare increase as marginal, Mr al Dosari said it was taken after financial studies were conducted on tariff revision. The consumer might not have much room for complaint as the last increase was made in 2005. The change brought mixed responses from commuters, some of whom said it was acceptable while others voiced concern about the impact on poorer travellers.
“It’s all right as long as the [taxi] fare doesn’t keep going up,” said Maricel Ramos, an English language student. “I’m okay if this is a one-time thing for some time to come. I was actually afraid they would increase the starting fare. That would have been terrible. I hope they leave it like this now.”
The hotel worker Babu Tiwari disagreed and said any increase was tough on workers, particularly those on lower salaries.
“We pool money and go out on Friday and this means we all will have to spend more every week,” he said. “Everything in this city is expensive – food, clothes. Taxis are already too expensive so we rarely use them. If it goes up any more, I won’t be able to use taxis.”
There are more than 7,000 taxis in the emirate operated by Dubai Taxi, Cars Taxi, Metro Taxi, National Taxi and Arabia Taxi. Drivers have seen their earnings decline with the opening of the Metro, which now has 26 of its planned 29 Red Line stations operating. The Green Line, which will intersect with the Red Line, is expected to open later this year.