x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Taxi drivers have hard lives, so increase that tip

Where are the low-income leaders? The protest movement led by Anna Hazare reminds Indians that their leaders all seem to be wealthy people, a reader writes. Other letter topics include taxi drivers (who are not wealthy), turning on the gas, invading Iraq, and developing Arab economies.

The anti-corruption campaign of Anna Hazare has led to the disclosure of Indian government ministers' assets. But a letter writer says another mechanism is needed to verify the declared assets. AFP
The anti-corruption campaign of Anna Hazare has led to the disclosure of Indian government ministers' assets. But a letter writer says another mechanism is needed to verify the declared assets. AFP

Ali Khaled's entertaining column The gold and white taxis never change, they just go extinct (September 7) put my own thoughts into print.

Jokes apart, yes, cab drivers seem to have a raw deal.

Working 15 to 18 hours a day is normal, and then there are the grumpy passengers, and those who don't pay.

And recently cheaper public transport like the metro in Dubai and buses in Abu Dhabi have cut into the taxi drivers' earning potential.

I try to help drivers by always paying at least Dh5 more than the metered bill. Some people tell me that I am setting a wrong trend and that cab drivers will begin to expect more from all customers. But still …

Ravikiran, Abu Dhabi

I arrived in the UAE early this year. Friends who had been here a couple of years advised me to use only silver taxis, and I have done so, and I have never had a problem.

I have regularly used taxis in several of the bigger western cities, and find that in Abu Dhabi the cabs are as easily available as anywhere, drivers as knowledgeable (which is not the same as saying they are always knowledgeable enough) and the cabs are usually clean (though sometimes you wonder when the driver last bathed).

And the prices are really quite low. I value that but I do feel sorry for the drivers, who I am told work on quite hard terms. I find that I am tipping drivers here more than elsewhere.

William Horton, Abu Dhabi

Getting tired of takeaway meals

I refer to the article Aldar launches rent-to own scheme for Al Raha Beach homes (September 6).

We moved into Al Zeina on July 22 and are generally happy with our new abode, except that the gas for cooking is not yet connected.

When the unit was handed over we had to sign an acknowledgement that we knew the gas was not flowing.

We expected only a short delay but now after almost seven weeks there's still no gas.

We have followed up with Aldar regularly, and Adnoc officials inspected the site on August 10 - but still no gas.

We are really tired of takeaway and sandwiches and sincerely hope that somebody flicks the switch.

Suzanne Rosch Hill, Abu Dhabi

What an Arab bank would need

The opinion column A development bank for the region (September 5) by Afshin Molavi was interesting.

I applaud the thoughts about which models the UAE should look to for inspiration.

But the Arab world needs a new type of institution that focuses on small and medium-sized enterprises and young entrepreneurs. It needs to find ways to work with local banks and non-governmental organisations, and should avoid pumping money into government projects with limited or no impact.

Tarig Monim, Dubai

Foolish revenge, not foolish fantasy

I can't agree with 9/11 Remembered: invading Iraq was a 'foolish fantasy' (September 7).

George W Bush's invasion of Iraq was not a foolish fantasy, but a very human urge to lash out at anything to satisfy his - and most Americans' - thirst for revenge.

If Osama bin Laden could not be found, any Arab was good enough to suffer for that atrocity.

Eric Burns, Australia

Method required to verify assets

The disclosure of financial assets and liabilities of India's ministers by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh raises a big question (Corruption row sees Indian ministers' wealth listed online, September 5).

It clearly indicates that Indians are governed by a few rich people; sadly every Indian happens to be part of this dogma.

While a large section of people struggle for mere survival, the rich dominate the parliament and dictate norms and practices that conveniently overlook the basic needs of common people.

The rising wealth of lawmakers is a real concern.

The public bear some of the blame for the practice because they elected representatives who were financially well off, but who never realised the pain of ordinary people.

Those who have been condemning Anna Hazare and his team for staging the recent protest against corruption must realise that politicians in the country are taking advantage from their careers and ignore the oath they made when they became ministers and members of the constitution.

There has to be a mechanism in place which ensures a thorough verification of the assets of people who contest in polls, a process which should continue on a regular basis.

Ramachandran Nair, Oman