Private taxis, which are operated illegally, are thriving thanks to the rising population and Karwa having raised its minimum fare recently from QR4 to QR10.
The illegal cabbies can also be seen slyly soliciting customers outside the arrival terminal of the Doha International Airport.
Although there is no dearth of Karwa cabs at the arrival terminal of the airport, private taxis offer rates that low and middle-income people particularly find attractive.
On Wednesday, an expatriate who returned here after long vacation said he took a private cab to Madinat Khalifa where he stays and paid only QR30.
The modus operandi adopted by the illegal cabbies is that they first convince you that their rates are attractive as compared to those of Karwa whose minimum fare starts from QR25 for airport service.
They, then, tell you where exactly in the parking lot of the airport their cars are parked and ask you to follow them a little later so that Karwa people do not suspect.
As for the illegal taxis plying on Doha roads, many people have become so much reliant on them that they keep mobile phone numbers of the shady operators and call them when they need their service.
But Qatari and Arab women generally remain wary and find it difficult to trust the illegal cabbies who can be seen lurking around major shopping complexes to solicit customers, especially during weekends.
According to community sources, since it is hard to verify the credentials of a private cabbie, Qatari and Arab women commuting alone mostly prefer Karwa taxis.
Rising population and difficulties in accessing Karwa taxis are the two major contributors to the thriving illegal taxi trade. Another factor, according to private taxi operators, is the rate they offer.
People are generally supportive of illegal private cabs since they are easily accessible and quite affordable.
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