Muscat: A new taxi application (app) has been launched in Oman to ensure hassle-free travel for people from one point to another.
Called the ‘Marhaba Taxi App,’ the application allows people to order a taxi on their mobile phones and also give their location out to taxi drivers, who are close to the area.
When you download the app, you need to enter your phone number and e-mail. Once you request a taxi, you are also informed of the number of taxis in the area and the approximate time that will be taken by one to reach you.
In the next couple of minutes, you can expect a call from the taxi driver, who is notified of your location, just to confirm where you are and the time that will be taken by him to come to you.
Once the taxi reaches where you are, you will receive a text on your mobile phone, saying the ‘Driver has arrived.’
Fares tend to be on the higher side, they start from OMR3.5 and the first five kilometres are free of cost, after which every kilometre is charged at 500 baisas.
All taxis have been installed with tracking devices, and once you reach your destination, you will get a receipt on your e-mail with the kilometres, route covered, time taken and the total fare.
Times of Oman spoke to a Marhaba taxi driver. “I have been driving a taxi for the last 10 years and now I signed up with this new taxi service. I received a few customers in our first three days and I am hoping for things to be good. It’s better with this because now we can go to hotels and any other location to get customers.”
An official from Ingenuity, the founders of the Marhaba Taxi App, said, “This is only a soft launch and we have about 100 drivers on board with their taxis; with the official launch we are aiming to have about 200 drivers with us, we are cooperating with these taxi drivers to the maximum.”
According to the official, during the first three days, the taxi service registered 800 users from Muscat and beyond. “We have 800 plus users, who downloaded the app and quite a few have used the service in the first three days, the soft launch was on April 11.”
“This is only the first phase, we are now developing phase three with many new features, and one of the features is the ‘panic option,’ which we intend to introduce at a later stage.”
During its first year of operations, the company intends to have 600 taxi drivers on board.
Every taxi driver has to complete an IRU (International Road Union) certification when registering with the app. The areas covered in the training are Health, Safety and Environment (HSE), customer service, etiquettes and routes training.
The service is currently operational from Muscat to Barka, but plans to expand to Sohar are underway, “Lots of plans are in the pipeline, we plan to take the service to Sohar as well, but everything will be done step by step.”
“The taxis are all owned by Omanis and we want to promote them. They can enrol their cars and fleet with us. We will manage them and tell them where the passengers are, we are also aiding them with getting the best prices from car insurance companies and car showrooms as well.”