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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 Eva Fernandes
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.