x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Dubai cabbies to relocate as company seeks to manage demand

The acting chief executive of Dubai Taxis says the change will mean more trips and higher income for the drivers.

DUBAI // Hundreds of taxi drivers are being moved to new accommodation in Jebel Ali to cater for the growing demand for cabs in the area.

Dubai Taxi Corporation said the shift of part of its fleet and some staff from Al Qusais would help cabbies complete more trips in a shorter time and increase their income.

"Approximately 500 vehicles and 1,200 drivers will be moved," said Ahmed Mohammed Al Hammadi, the acting chief executive of the company, which has more than 7,500 drivers and 3,500 vehicles.

He said the move would take place in stages to meet the "high demand in Jebel Ali and Al Sufouh areas", but did not specify when.

Some drivers said they were apprehensive about moving.

"We do not know what facilities will be provided there," said one cabbie. "In Al Qusais, there are restaurants and shops but I am not sure how it will be in Jebel Ali.

"I believe they are shifting some of us because the new airport there will open soon."

Dubai World Central Airport is expected to begin passenger operations in October.

Another driver said he was among those who had been approached by the company for the relocation.

"They said it's easier to pick up and drop passengers," he said. "They told us a final list of drivers will be made soon.

"I only hope the accommodation is better. In Al Qusais, we are already settled. It would take time to get used to the new location."

The company said it would ensure its drivers were not "negatively impacted" by the change.

"The new accommodation is located in the Barco area, which is well serviced and has all facilities such as a malls, clinics and exchange centres," said Mr Al Hammadi.

"Currently, drivers working in Jebel Ali and adjacent areas are losing two working hours travelling to Al Qusais station for shift change.

"However, using the new Jebel Ali station would take no more than 30 minutes, which will help drivers increase their income."

He also said the housing at Jebel Ali would be of a high standard.

"The new accommodation is designed based on international staff accommodation standards and has all facilities to ensure drivers' welfare and comfort," Mr Al Hammadi said. He did not elaborate on what those facilities included.

Another driver said: "If they provide the same kind of living standards and canteen for meals, it is good. We will know what happens when the move is made official."

pkannan@thenational.ae