Errant taxi drivers get away with their “wrongdoings” due to the absence of a proper channel through which commuters can air their grievances, feels a section of city residents.
Explaining the difficulties they often faced while dealing with cabbies, particularly over fares, some of the residents recently said in the social media that they had no clue how to get redress.
A senior official of a taxi company said while the firm was aware of such cases and even initiated action against the offenders at times, not too many of the affected passengers came forward to lodge complaints with them. “Instead, many of them vent their anger through the media. And that’s how we get to learn about their bad experiences,” said the official, recalling instances of his company taking action against lawbreakers among the taxi drivers.
“Whenever such issues are brought to our notice, nothing stops us from treating a complaint with the seriousness that it deserves,” the official further said, explaining how the company dealt with some of the offenders against whom passengers had lodged complaints, mainly pertaining to overcharging.
However, many among Doha’s residents feel that Karwa should set up grievance booths in the city, at least in some of the malls. “Such places should have the facility to receive complaints from passengers as well as suggestions to improve the quality of service. As of now, no such facility exists for taxi users anywhere in the city,” said an Asian woman who depends heavily on taxis for her commute.
Some residents of Doha have also suggested that officials of taxi companies should travel in their firms’ cabs by posing as ordinary passengers to get a “first-hand experience” of their staffers’ service.
There are some residents who tend to ignore such issues despite being victims of overcharging or refusal by cabbies more than once. Asked why, one of them said going all the way to the Karwa headquarters to lodge a complaint was a laborious and expensive task as the place was far from where he stayed.
Not all residents feel that drivers alone are to be blamed for the problems. “Their employers should have a carrot-and-stick policy for them. If there is a provision to reward them every month, as is done in several establishments, many of these drivers will improve their performance,” said a commuter, citing the example of a system in Abu Dhabi where both passengers and drivers are given incentives almost every month.
The resident said such a system of incentives could draw inspiration from the practice among shopping centres in Qatar to have lucky draws for customers frequently. “Such gifts could be given to those using taxis as well. It may even prompt car owners to use taxis once in a while,” he added.
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