DUBAI // Taxi drivers who allow multiple drop-offs for passengers in a single journey could be fined or lose their jobs.
The rule applies to all cabs operating in Dubai.
“Multiple drops by taxi drivers are not allowed in Dubai,” said Tariq Al Ghaith of the Roads and Transport Authority.
“Taxi drivers who are found to do this are liable to be fined Dh2,000. If they continue to do this then they are let go.”
The ruling is in place because shared taxis reduce revenue. The RTA are trying to educate drivers about the issue, said Mr Al Ghaith.
“We want to get the message across that this is not permitted.”
He said only Al Madina Taxis had permission to operate shared cabs, and only on specific routes in Dubai. The company has been operating since 2006.
Despite the tough stance by officials, several taxi drivers said they were unaware of the rule and it was common practice to drop off more than one customer in a fare.
“I have not been informed of this and have not had any problems from anyone about it,” said one driver who works for Metro Taxi.
“It’s fine to have more than one drop-off in a single journey. The maximum is four passengers per journey.”
The regulation also came as a surprise to taxi customers.
“I don’t understand why we can’t share the taxi,” said a British businessman, who was catching a cab at Media City.
“I would have thought that sharing a cab is both economical and reduces unnecessary journeys.
“I’ve never had a taxi driver refuse to drop someone off before going to a different location but maybe if they are going to check up on drivers they will stop doing that.”
A spokeswoman for the Dubai Taxi Corporation confirmed the ban on multiple drop-offs.
“This has been implemented ever since the establishment of the corporation, which is under Public Transport Agency franchise policy,” she said.
The Dubai Taxi Corporation was established in 2007.
One reason given for the rule is taxis do not have a shared meter system.
“Sharing is a different service provided by different types of transport like public transport which is dedicated for sharing,” said the spokeswoman.
TransAd, the Abu Dhabi taxi regulator, did not respond to questions as to whether a similar rule is in place in the capital.
Despite this, most taxi drivers said they were unaware of the rule.
A driver working for National Taxis said he thought he was allowed to drop off no more than two people per journey.
“As long as the meter doesn’t stop it’s fine,” he said.
“I haven’t been told of any rules that doesn’t allow us to do this.
“It’s a very common thing to do and most drivers do it. I don’t see why it would be a problem if you are dropping someone off on the way as long as they pay.”
An Arabia Taxis driver said although many cabbies were willing to carry out multiple drops there were some risks.
“Sometimes the police might stop you so you have to be careful where you drop people off but apart from that I haven’t heard about any problems,” he said.