Muscat: Owners of orange taxis do not feel threatened by the introduction of the electronic metering system installed in airport taxis but rather consider it beneficial for their business.
Read here: Metered taxis introduced by Oman Airport Management Company
Oman Airports Management Company installed the much awaited metering system in all its taxis. The new system became operational last Friday.
Fares now start from OMR6, with every kilometre ride adding 200 baiza to the tariff.
Suleiman Al Jardani, a taxi member elected to represent Muscat’s taxi drivers, said the new system does not affect their business but will rather bring benefits.
“Let’s look at it from a different viewpoint. Some people who work in Oman will find the prices elsewhere too expensive on their arrival and will rather choose us to serve them,” Al Jardani said, adding that while others have fixed prices, airport taxi cost was linked to the distance covered.
“Besides, they only ferry passengers to and from the airport, not in the rest of the city as we do,” he added.
He added that most people will probably opt for cheaper options but fares will vary if the cab is shared or engaged.
Al Jardani also said sometimes tourists still find orange taxi fares too expensive.
“There was a time when a plane would land at 3 a.m. and there would be a group of students from the Emirates. They would approach us outside the airport and we would give them a price. They would call it a price ‘that’s too expensive.’ But if we are expensive then who is cheaper?” he wondered.
Metering Issue Revisited
When asked if the taxi drivers’ opinion about introducing the metering system has changed, Al Jardani reaffirmed that they were against the move.
In their last interview to the Times of Oman, taxi drivers had said they will lose customers if the system was introduced as it would make the service too expensive.
Al Jardani gave an explanation, saying, “Almost 80 per cent of our customers are expatriate manpower and they won’t be able to pay an expensive fare to and from work every day.”
“Who uses taxis more than them? Each house in Muscat owns at least two cars, so we depend on expatriate manpower to commute using orange taxis. If we install meters, we will lose this set of customers,” he explained further.
“We just want out fares regulated by the ministry so that customers will have a better understanding of how much each trip costs,” Al Jardani added, calling once again for orange taxi fares to be regulated.