x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Dubai taxi firm offers interest-free loans for drivers

Drivers will also be able to apply for loans of up to Dh12,000 when they have to pay compensation for an accident, or up to Dh1,000 for medical treatment if they have to leave the job because of an illness.

A Dubai Taxi Corporation red taxi at Ibn Battuta Mall. Drivers of the red taxis will be eligible to ask their employers for interest-free loans.
A Dubai Taxi Corporation red taxi at Ibn Battuta Mall. Drivers of the red taxis will be eligible to ask their employers for interest-free loans.

DUBAI // Drivers of Dubai's red taxis will be able to apply for interest-free loans from their employer.

All drivers for Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC), which is owned by the Roads and Transport Authority, will be able to apply for loans of up to Dh5,000 through a social-solidarity fund.

The other five taxi companies operating in the emirate will not be included in the programme.

Drivers will also be able to apply for loans of up to Dh12,000 when they have to pay compensation for an accident, or up to Dh1,000 for medical treatment if they have to leave the job because of an illness.

"Each case will be decided by the committee and endorsed by the chief executive of the DTC," said Ahmed Bahrozyan, head of the company's supervisory committee.

The social-solidarity fund will be kept in an investment bank account and can be only accessed by the head of the committee or the chief executive of the DTC.

One Pakistani driver, Mohammad Iqbal, 28, said the loans would not make much of a difference to the daily grind behind the wheel.

"It is good to know it is there if we need it," Mr Iqbal said. "Sometimes we need a lot of cash just to get by if we are not working.

"Lots of drivers are in accidents which is not covered by the insurance. It's usually our fault and we have to pay for it.

"I hope I will never have to use it, although the interest-free makes it more attractive."

Another driver said it would be convenient to take a loan instead of dipping into his tips.

"I usually try to save my tips for going home to Pakistan to visit my family," said Ahmed Mohammad, 34. "The banks are always a last resort for us because the last thing I want is another debt to pay back with interest."

eharnan@thenational.ae