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‘Toot, toot’ a moot point for Lebanese cabbies

‘Toot, toot’ a moot point for Lebanese cabbies

Bank of Beirut’s personal loan aimed exclusively at taxi drivers sparks nothing but more honking.

March 9, 2010 5:20 by

Is there finally some good news for Lebanese taxi drivers?

Cabbies are known to share their worries with anyone who will listen. It sometimes feels like it would take a miracle to put a smile on their face.

Could that miracle have arrived? Earlier this week, Bank of Beirut announced that it is launching a new loan for taxi drivers, known as the “toot toot” loan.

The “especially targeted loans” give drivers the chance to buy a new or used taxi, according to Isabelle Naoum, the bank’s head of communications.

“Bank of Beirut’s loans and services always convey the bank’s responsibility towards the society where it operates, and this is the case of the taxi loan, which grants new job opportunities and helps protect the environment by curbing pollution,” she said.

Kipp hit the streets of Beirut to find out whether this ‘socially responsible’ initiative could result in smiles. Could a loan aimed exclusively at taxi drivers ever prompt a lull in the honking, and the complaints about ever rising gasoline prices?

Not so. Most of the taxi drivers we spoke to were doubtful: “Who is going to benefit from it?,” asked one.

No smiles, then. Would only a cynic suggest that the Bank of Beirut’s initiative is purely down to making money in any way possible?

Honk, honk.

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1 Comment

  1. Ronald on March 10, 2010 10:11 am

    Good Point… The BoB has been known for some attractive offers made so by smart advertising.

    not really sure how much interest and the conditions BoB is asking of the cabbies, but the reconditioning of Lebanon specifically Beirut’s Taxi and Service Taxi fleets has to be done with the support of all involved.

    the only way it will help the taxi drivers and their union is if, the cars Taxi drivers buy are not subject to Import tax if they are new, this way emission, consumption and longevity of the vehicles will be maximized.

    the central bank should help by securing very low interest loans for individual cab owners, and medium rates to fleet taxi companies.

    Insurance Companies have to also play a role in offering helpful and affordable full risk insurance on cabs. as it stands now, to insure even the smallest car for cab duty is very expensive and unaffordable.

    with a well planned insurance plan, the cabs will look nicer, and with a franchise system, the drivers will not treat their cars as bumper cars.

    there also needs to be a regulatory authority that will keep cars up to a certain standard. not to mention a unified color…

    as it stands, i think BoB is fishing for more profit from a needy sector. and the people that are signing up to such loan seldom do without really being properly informed..


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