Karwa taxi drivers have spoken of their experiences on the street. Some said the job is interesting because it introduces them to new people and places everyday with the potential for new and useful experiences. A considerable number though think that the job is hard, boring and the overall income is inadequate.
A Nepali driver expressed his happiness. He said that his contract is to rent the taxi from the company and pay a fixed sum every month, so whatever amount he makes above this goes into his pocket.
“I usually transfer around QR2,000 a month home after my personal expenses and paying the taxi rent. The amount, however, varies from time to time and I need to work hard and never deny a customer a trip to make as much as possible,” he said.
Mohamed, an Indian driver, said: “Families are the best customers, but some young men especially those in groups are a real nuisance and usually give me a hard time.” He also complained that some customers when they find the fare for the trip high simply run away. “The police are very good and helpful, but when the customer runs away what can I do?” he pointed out.
An Egyptian taxi driver complained that the job is hard and demanding. “Since the minimum fare was raised to QR10 short distance customers have been giving me a hard time. They argue about the fare and a lady once took me to the police station because she refused to pay believing that it was unfair and I was somehow cheating.”
An Ethiopian driver gives his customers the option either to negotiate the fare or use the meter for he has only a limited time before he leaves Qatar for good. “ I’ve grown old, my night vision is very weak and I cannot carry on my duties properly as a driver, these are my last days in the country and it makes little difference to me if I use the meter or not. I am leaving any way.”
An airport services driver said usually Europeans and Americans pay him a good tip over the fare. However, some other customers even argue about the fare and show dissatisfaction about what they believe is a very high price. “Those would not even give QR 1 as a tip,” he said.
Newly hired taxi drivers often have difficulty with directions locations of the country. If customers do not know the way to their destinations, the driver simply denies them a trip. On the other hand, some drivers who are highly experienced exploit their customers, who usually do not know the way, by taking the longest route.”
A Nepali driver points out that some customers like to share a taxi, in particular those going long distances say to Al-Khor. In this case, he divides the fare equally. Otherwise, he waits for passengers to come till the taxi is full and agrees with them on a set fare according to the distance and the time of the day.
In this way, drivers use their taxis as a collective means of transport by pooling four passengers to the same destination in one trip with their mutual approval. Normally, they would pay less than when taking the taxi alone.
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