x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Hundreds of drivers fined for running illegal taxis

The Ajman Transport Corporation has fined as many as 450 private car drivers for carrying paying passengers

AJMAN // The Ajman Transport Corporation has fined as many as 450 private car drivers for carrying paying passengers. The fines came during the first week of a campaign against illegal taxis, in which eight plainclothes inspectors trolled the streets, said Omar Lootah, the company's chief financial and administrative officer. But residents said the illicit taxis were important because of the emirate's lack of public transport.

Many residents cannot afford a licensed taxi for their commute to work. Ayman Soweid, a salesman in a hardware shop, earns Dh2,000 (US$540) a month. His illegal daily car ride from Karama costs just Dh200 a month, while a licensed taxi would cost about Dh700. "The problem is that there is no public transport, and then how can authorities expect all people to afford the metered taxis? "The old taxis were good: you could negotiate your fare or wait for another," he said.

The starting fine, for a small saloon car carrying passengers, is Dh1,000 and doubles if the driver is stopped again. Vans can be fined up to Dh5,000 and their drivers' licences can be suspended for a month. ykakande@thenational.ae