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Posted On: 12 March 2009 10:46 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Clampdown pushes illegal taxis off road

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The number of private cabs in the city and its outskirts has drastically fallen thanks to an ongoing clampdown by the Traffic and Patrols Department. Illegal taxis had literally outnumbered the Karwa taxis in the country forcing the authorities to act. Many of them have either left the scene or limited their activities fearing the hefty penalties imposed by the authorities. With these clandestine operators forced to be off the roads, many residents believe that shortage of taxis in city would aggravate, unless Mowasalat goes for a further expansion of its fleet of buses and taxis. A senior official from the Traffic and Patrols Department told this newspaper yesterday that the crackdown was intended to curtail this illegal activity that is a flagrant violation of the traffic law. The offense is punishable with a fine up to QR3,000 and the vehicle can be impounded. Private cabs operate in two ways- they pick up passengers randomly from the roads similar to the Karwa taxis or transport customers through prior bookings. A number of people were relying on such vehicles to go to their offices or transport their children to the schools and back home on a regular basis. The official said all these activities are banned by the law since only authorised taxis and limousines have been legally permitted to do that. “We can not find many private taxis on the roads now but some of them are still available on request,” said a resident. “ Many people were using the services of these cabs due to the shortage of Karwa taxis and their high fares,” he added. Earlier such cabs could be spotted in every street and shopping complex in the city waiting for customers or trying to strike a “deal” with a prospective passenger. Mowasalat, that runs the hardly 2,000 strong Karwa taxis, has been putting the blame for the taxi shortage on the heavy traffic snarls in the city. Senior Mowasalat officials have claimed that the problem could be resolved only with completion of the ongoing road projects in the city.