x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Introduction of taxi ranks in Abu Dhabi will reduce waiting time

TransAd and Department of Transport have plans to launch taxi ranks across the city and off-island to make rides easier for passengers.

More taxi ranks like this one at Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre Immigration area on Al Saada will help drivers and passengers. Delores Johnson / The National
More taxi ranks like this one at Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre Immigration area on Al Saada will help drivers and passengers. Delores Johnson / The National

ABU DHABI // Ten more taxi ranks will be introduced in the city and off the island to reduce waiting times for passengers, said an official at TransAd, the taxi regulator.

The move is intended to make taxis more easily available so passengers do not face long waits to catch a taxi.

The project, a joint initiative by the Department of Transport (DoT) and TransAD, is now in the tender process after going through feasibility studies, identifying the locations for the prototype and the design phase.

“The DoT will construct 10 prototypes of these the taxi ranks within and outside the city,” said  Mohammed Al Hosani, director of franchise and licensing at TransAD. “Once the infrastructure is completed, the service will be ready.”

The ranks were initially scheduled to become operational next month, but the launch was delayed due to revisions on feasibility studies and reassessing the locations, among other factors.

Twenty-seven locations had earlier been identified, and reduced to 10. Eight of the 10 sites have been identified: near Carrefour on Airport Road, the Abu Dhabi immigration office on Al Saada Street, the Emirates Driving Company in Mussaffah, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Etihad Plaza in Khalifa City A, the Khalifa City A Souq, Abu Dhabi courts, and Airport Road near Delma Street.

These locations were chosen after a private consultancy company carried out a study in the fourth quarter of 2011 to identify areas according to high demand, high population density and availability of space, the size of the taxi rank and the size of the taxi fleet.

Consultants also studied taxi demands and requirements by analysing the number of trips generated, the volume of business in different zones and identifying which area needed a taxi rank or lay-by.

A taxi rank, which is designed to be an open shelter, will be set up near Carrefour on Airport Road, while a lay-by will be built on Airport Road near Delma Street.

Taxis will not wait for passengers in a lay-by but will pick up and drop them off. At the taxi ranks, cabs will wait for fares or be dispatched to the site. By going to the nearest rank, passengers will be able to find a taxi more easily and with less waiting time than trying to hail one on the street.

The ranks are expected to cut down on traffic congestion, reducing the number of taxis roaming on the roads in search of passengers. About 50 per cent of the total running kilometres in Abu Dhabi taxis is “dead”, or is not generating income, studies have shown.

It is not the first time that such a move has been discussed. In March last year, Mr Al Hosani told an international taxi conference in Abu Dhabi that one of the taxi reforms by TransAD in co-ordination with the DoT was transforming the “roaming taxi” concept into a taxi rank.

“Taxi ranks will be utilised mainly by our dispatch system,” said Mr Al Hosani. “The new service will reduce the waiting time to dispatch the nearest available taxi to the area.”

TransAD will make use of the latest technology to ensure taxis are quickly dispatched when there are no available taxis in the rank.

“Once we have the taxi ranks, the dispatch will be much easier,” he said. “We can use the locations to launch the new service.”

TransAD is also encouraging the public to reserve taxis instead of waiting at the side of the road.

“We would like to raise awareness of the facility to book taxis on the call centre,” he said.

Abu Dhabi has a fleet of 7,147 taxis that can be booked by calling 600 535353. In May last year, TransAD reduced the fee for booking a taxi from Dh5 to Dh3 during the day and Dh4 at night.

Another objective of TransAD is to serve residents in densely populated areas off Abu Dhabi island such as Baniyas, Mussaffah, Shahama and Shamkha.

“We want to ensure that taxis are available everywhere – even at off-peak times,” he said.

This month, TransAD instructed six franchise companies to make sure another 75 taxis are exclusively available in Baniyas, where residents frequently complain it is difficult to find a taxi.

 

View Top rank Abu Dhabi taxi ranks in a larger map

rruiz@thenational.ae