UAE Authorities Clamp Down On Illegal Taxi Services
For those living in the UAE, there are several modes of public transportation thatâ€™s available. These include buses, metro, private taxis, and regular government taxis.
For those living in the UAE, there are several modes of public transportation that’s available. These include buses, metro, private taxis, and regular government taxis. Of course, you can also use services such as Uber and Careem. However, in the recent years, there has been a sharp rise in vehicle owners participating in transporting people. This type of taxi service offers cheaper rides compared to regular taxis, usually as low as AED 10 per person, but are completely illegal in the UAE.
In Dubai, authorities including the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and the local police departments recently conducted an extended campaign. This campaign was squarely aimed at catching unlicensed individuals operating or promoting illegal taxi, car-lift, or limousine services in the emirate. These services violate several traffic laws and regulations, and repeat offenders face strict actions. According to the RTA, repeat offenders are individuals who have been caught thrice for offering unlicensed transport services. If caught for the fourth time, the individual will be subject to immediate deportation by law, and will also have their vehicles impounded indefinitely.
Mohammed Walid Nabhan, Director of Passengers Transport Activities Monitoring at RTA’s Public Transport Agency said, “The campaign, which lasted more than a month, targeted labors and tourist areas in the Emirate and resulted in reporting 306 offences for practicing unlicensed passenger transport activities. About 257 of these offences were related to the practicing of unauthorised commercial passenger transport, and 49 offences were related to the promotion of unauthorised passenger transport. Other penalties enforced against violators included seizing the vehicle used in the unauthorised transportation and deporting the driver in case of making more than three offences. Accordingly, 60 vehicles have been impounded, and 20 violators have been deported in coordination with the General Directorate Of Residency And Foreigners Affairs Dubai.”
Meanwhile, in Abu Dhabi, authorities have been able to catch nearly 1,600 illegal taxi operators in the first four months of this year. According to the Abu Dhabi Police, the vast majority of unlicensed car owners were caught by non-uniformed officers whilst they were in the process of picking up or dropping off passengers throughout the capital. Abu Dhabi Police have issued a notice, warning illegal taxi operators about the consequences of breaking the law, and that the police maintain a zero-tolerance policy for such offenses.
Authorities in Abu Dhabi have also stated that these unlicensed taxi services, apart from being illegal, can also contribute to serious health and safety issues for the driver. It has been discovered that some of these individuals not only lack the necessary documents for their taxi operations, but many are staying in the UAE without a visa. Abu Dhabi Police noted that most of these illegal services operate during the morning and evening time, but can be found offering rides during the weekends as well.
In order to make up for their low fares, drivers usually carry a full load of passengers. The police stated that the majority of these illegal rides usually originate from Abu Dhabi city, and then fan out to various locations in and around the emirate. With Abu Dhabi Police cracking down on such practices, those that are caught face severe penalties. In accordance with the Federal Traffic Law, offenders will not only have their cars impounded for a month, but will also have to pay a hefty fine of AED 3,000, plus will have 24 black points added to their records.
Authorities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have urged commuters to stay away from using these illegal services, as it’s not only dangerous but also promotes the practice for others to follow. The police department of both emirates have asked citizens to report if they witness any such operation.