x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Stations to be served by dedicated taxis

Transport chiefs intend to make sure there are plenty of taxis available to whisk passengers away from the new Metro stations.

DUBAI // Transport chiefs intend to make sure there are plenty of taxis available to whisk passengers away from the new Metro stations. The Roads and Transport Authority has told an undisclosed number of cab drivers to be at the relevant stations from Wednesday morning onwards. Ten of the 52km Red Line's 29 stops will be operational for the system's launch that day, with the remainder to be phased in by February.

The stations to open will be Rashidiya, Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport, City Centre, Al Rigga, Union Square, Khalid bin Al Waleed, Jafliah, Financial Centre, Mall of the Emirates, and Nakheel Harbour and Tower. "There will be a certain group of taxis that will be dedicated for these stations," said Abdul Aziz Malik, chief executive of the RTA's Dubai Taxi Agency. He said there would be no increase in taxi fares. The minimum fare increased threefold last April to Dh10. A starting fee of Dh20 was also set for journeys from Dubai to Sharjah. The waiting fee was fixed at 50 fils per minute; previously the first 10 minutes were free.

Taxi drivers admitted to being unsure about what the future held for them once the Metro started to take passengers up and down Sheikh Zayed Road. Sabz Ali, from Pakistan, said: "It has been tough for the last six months. Business is nowhere close to what it was a year ago. It will be more of a struggle once the Metro comes online, but, that doesn't mean the business will entirely finish. We will still have short-haul fares and hopefully things will improve once people start coming back to Dubai."

eharnan@thenational.ae