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Flag-down rate of Dubai taxis hiked to Dh5.

The flag-down rate of orders from the Booking and Dispatch Centre has also been hiked from Dh6 to Dh8 during off-peak hours; and from Dh10 to Dh12 during peak hours.

The flag-down rate of taxis in Dubai has been hiked from Dh3 to Dh5, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced on Monday. Revised fares have been announced for trips during the morning peak hours from 7am to 10am, and evening peak hours from 4pm to 8pm. The revised rates will be effective from December 1.

The flag-down rate of orders from the Booking and Dispatch Centre has also been hiked from Dh6 to Dh8 during off-peak hours; and from Dh10 to Dh12 during peak hours.

The morning and evening peak hours are considered from Saturday to Wednesday, while on Thursdays and Fridays peak hours are from 4pm to 12 midnight.

Only the flag-down rates have been hiked and the fare rate meter remains unchanged. Dr Yousef Mohammed Al Ali, CEO of RTA Public Transport Agency, said: "The decision applies to the Dubai Taxi vehicles and taxis operated by other franchise companies under the umbrella of the RTA. The upgrade of taxi meters operating in Dubai will be completed within three weeks starting from December 1."

Simultaneous plans are in place to integrate the fares with the recently launched Nol cards package covering all mass transport modes.

As per the new package, Nol card users can subscribe for daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual payment plans for use of different modes of transport including the Dubai Metro, Dubai Tramway, public buses and marine transport.

However, the exact integration dates, and if the same Nol card package system is going to be used in taxis, has not yet been made clear. Only airport taxis have the Nol and credit card facilities as of now, and Nol services in the remaining 8,700 taxi-strong fleet in the emirate will be gradually implemented by mid-2015.

Al Ali noted that the move is part of the efforts made to upgrade the daily practices and performance of cabdrivers as the RTA views them as "ambassadors" dealing with passengers and strategic partners. "The step is intended to overcome challenges that cabbies face during daily operations, stamp out ... problems impeding the delivery of better services to the public ... and implement the best practices of the industry," said Al Ali. "It is worth mentioning that the taxi fare applicable in Dubai is the cheapest among some of the world's most developed cities such as London, New York, Amsterdam, Paris, Singapore, Tokyo and other well-known metropolises and cities."

The decision will significantly contribute to putting an end to the practice of refusal to pick up passengers; winning public satisfaction; and meeting the growing demand for taxi service.

Residents flustered

The hike has left Dubai residents flustered and some took to social media platforms to express their anger. A snippet of the story shared on Khaleej Times' social media pages had people raising concerns about the steep hike in the cost of using public transport. As per comments and responses on Facebook, some readers opined that the hike is unjustified, while others said public transport is very expensive in the emirate.

A reader said on Khaleej Times' fanpage: "Taxis are already very expensive. I remember a time when there was no flag-down rate. People were charged only the journey fare."

Another reader said: "From Dh3 to Dh5! That is a very steep hike." Another said: "Very sad decision ... (as far as) ... the common man is concerned."

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Nov 24, 2014
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