People to blame for illegal taxis: Karwa

May 02, 2011 - 12:16:13 am

DOHA: Illegal taxis are flourishing in Qatar not because of a shortage of Karwa cabs but due to the irresponsible attitude of the public which tends to encourage such practices, a senior official of Mowasalat said here yesterday.

Jassim Saif Al Sulaiti, chairman and managing director of Mowasalat, addressing the media yesterday claimed that Qatar currently had enough number of taxis. He however, said the company had plans to increase the number of Karwa taxis to 8,000 by 2022, when FIFA World Cup is scheduled to be held in Qatar. This will be implemented in a phased manner starting from next year.

Asked by The Peninsula why there were so many illegal taxis operating in the country, Al Sulati said: “It is because of some people, who encourage such practices. I have seen people negotiating with illegal taxi operators at places where Karwa taxis are available in plenty. And this is not an issue limited to Qatar. You will see such practices all over the world.”

He added that people opting for an illegal taxi were compromising the quality of service and risking their own safety.

“There are several complaints related to safety of customers hailing illegal cabs, especially concerning women passengers,” said Al Sulaiti.

Asked why Mowasalat didn’t take measures to control the practice, the official said it was not under the jurisdiction of the company. “We cannot take any action since we are not the law enforcing authorities. We have already reported the matter to the authorities concerned,” said  Al Sulaiti.

The official said Qatar would need about 8,000 taxis by 2022, considering the expected increase in the population and the developments in the country ahead of the FIFA World Cup. He dismissed a study presented in a recent regional transport conference in Doha that showed Qatar had one of lowest per capita share of taxis in the GCC region saying that the findings were not accurate.

The official justified the decision of the company to raise the minimum taxi fare per trip to QR10 saying that it would increase the efficiency of the taxi service.

He said the expatriate labourers and other low-income groups would not be affected by the move because they mostly rely on public buses for their daily transport. Mowasalat has no plans to increase the bus fares, he added.

On complaints about the performance of some Karwa taxi drivers, Al Sulati said the company was acting tough with erring drivers. “Earlier we used to issue warnings to such drivers before taking action or directly impose a fine up to QR500. Now if any driver is found to be violating the rules, he will be sacked and sent home immediately,” he said. The Peninsula


School bus was safe: Official

DOHA: A Mowasalat official clarified yesterday that the recent incident in which two teenagers fell out of a running school bus was not caused by shortcomings in any aspect of the vehicle’s safety.

The boys shattered the glass window as they picked up a fierce brawl inside the bus and fell on the road. One of them reportedly suffered fractures in a hand while the other sustained minor injuries. The school bus was operated by Mowasalat.

“It was a Mercedes vehicle with the highest quality specifications. The glass window gave in because the children might have hit the fragile portion of the glass that is used for an emergency exit,” said the official.

The Peninsula