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U-turn on safer taxis stance puts RTA on shaky PR ground

U-turn on safer taxis stance puts RTA on shaky PR ground

Eva Fernandes tells the RTA to choose their words wisely, following its recent ‘clarification’ of their newest premium ‘safer’ taxi service.

October 23, 2011 4:43 by

When you are as cool as Kipp, it isn’t quite acceptable to begin an article with “LOL” but one particular comment from an RTA member nearly pushed us to do so…

Just back track for a second: the RTA recently announced plans to launch a new programme, called “In Safe Hands”, which essentially aimed to provide a personalised taxi service for families, working professionals and children who use taxis on a regular basis.

You would imagine such loyalty to the taxi services would be rewarded by cheaper prices. That would only be too logical. But we don’t quite get why opting for a more frequent dedicated service should set you back a limb and a half. As The National points out “The programme costs an initial flag fall of Dh25, plus Dh1.71 a kilometre, compared with between Dh3 and Dh20 a flag fall and Dh1.60 a kilometre in other cabs. Waiting time costs the same, 50 fils a minute. It is unknown if the drivers involved in the programme are paid more.”

Besides the price issue, the obvious point of contention is the naming and promotion of the programme. The “In Safe Hands” initiative implied that the rest of the taxis out of this programme were unsafe. Why the RTA couldn’t see a problem with the issue with it is beyond us, and certainly beyond some of our readers.

Here are two comments from our Facebook page on the matter:

Annabel Kantaria That’s not good enough to charge a premium… They’re effectively telling you some of their drivers are dangerous! If you were hurt in a crash, would they claim in court that you knew you were taking a risk because you didn’t pay for a ‘better’ driver? Better that they train all their drivers to a high standard…

Kate Mullen Judging by the squealing brakes on some of their cars, the concept of safety is completely lost on them – it’s not just the drivers that are dangerous, but the maintenance of their vehicles that leaves a lot to be desired. Asking people to pay extra to drive with those that have safer records is subjective – they might just be really lucky, or know where all the speed cameras are!!!!

Now, in an interesting turn of events, the RTA has actually responded to the concerns raised by this programme. A spokeswoman for the RTA said that all Dubai taxi drivers are safe, well-trained and held to the highest standards:  “The drivers we have selected for the [In Safe Hands] service are the best of the best,” she said. “This does not mean in any way that the rest of our drivers are unsafe. This service should be considered a personalised one for passengers who have special concerns or needs.”

‘LOL’ could surmise our reaction to the above, but quite frankly it goes beyond that: we are just a tad surprised. After all we are talking about a body that very proudly announced the launch of an awareness campaign titled “Don’t Terminate Your Life in and Accident” this summer.

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  1. chaz on October 24, 2011 4:17 am

    I will start with Groan rather than LOL.
    It just gets worse and nobody in the RTA seems to realise it.
    I wish they were in safe hands to guide them.

  2. mustafa on October 24, 2011 7:02 am

    It is true that the RTA drivers are dangerous and rude they openly make a mistake and challenge us and say you go to the police and complain and we will meet in court…

  3. Rachel Hamilton on October 24, 2011 7:17 am

    I might take the RTA up on their kind suggestion to pay cab drivers according to the quality of service provided … travelling around Dubai would become extremely cheap.

  4. Aqui on October 24, 2011 9:58 am

    Even how much RTA tried to defend their scheme… it is very obvious and clearly a statement saying out loud to Dubai and to the world that the rest of the tax ARE NOT SAFE… please… explicate more… we are already DUMB and you are trying to make us DUMBER by that defensive statement from your spokeswoman…?

  5. OFiroz on October 24, 2011 10:02 am

    What I am guessing is explained below;
    The Emirates cab drivers are payed according to their earnings, means there is a basic salary and if you make more money; certain percentage will be giving it to you at the end of the month.
    RTA take off this way of paying method from “Safe hands” taxi drivers, so they won’t rush to make more money; eventually accidents! Instead RTA pays higher basic salary to those Safe Hands Cab drivers! Those “extra expense” on drivers will be covered from the commuters, a big percentage on that also will be earned by RTA!
    See, two birds in one stone! Bravo RTA!

  6. Josie on October 24, 2011 11:24 am

    And now the cab drivers has a direct hotline to the police too for toxicated westerns. My mate had two beers and fell asleep in the cab when she’d been working a 16 hour shift that day. She woke up out side the police station. Even thow she had a alcohol licence she got points and a serious warning and next time shell get time! So much for getting tourism to dubai rta!! Maybe it’s better to pay extra for western drivers that won’t report westerners to the police for finders money?

  7. Josie on October 24, 2011 11:27 am

    Oh and did I mention that the cab driver tried to get 500 dhs to not bring her into the police station? Cab driver extorsion!

  8. Samantha on October 24, 2011 10:33 pm

    Every single time I have been in a cab over the last few months, I have had to tell the RTA cab drivers to slow down as I hold on in the back, strapped up, praying to get to my final destination safely.
    The level or lack of service, attitude, disrespect, stink of a smell, hurry, impatience, arrogance, unprofessionalism, lack of knowledge of directions, lack of courtesy to other drivers and passengers, make them incompetent to haul around cattle never mind paying customers!

  9. Ali on October 26, 2011 12:14 pm

    I dont see whats wrong with cab drivers taking intoxicated people to the police. If its illegal to appear drunk then the drivers are actually doing Dubai a service by reporting people doing something illegal.


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