Oman transport: Call for higher fares by airport taxi drivers

Oman Sunday 10/April/2016 21:53 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman transport: Call for higher fares by airport taxi drivers

Muscat: Passengers using airport taxis may face higher fares as drivers are once again demanding a hike in their tariffs.
Salim Al Ghammari, a Muscat Municipal Council member, told Times of Oman that following the demands of the airport taxi driver, he has raised a suggestion to the council to raise the tariff again.
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He said he was approached after Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) agreed to increase the amount it takes from drivers from OMR48 every two years to 700 baisas per trip, in order to raise income like many other state-owned organisations this year.
“This time it should be slight and reasonable,” said Al Ghammari, adding, however, that this suggestion is yet to be discussed at the Municipal council.
The tariff hike demand comes as OAMC has started charging 700 baisas for every trip from the airport taxi drivers.
Abdullah Al Shibli, an airport taxi driver, said that many of the drivers are not happy with the move.
“They feel that 700 baisa is too much and it should be decreased,” said Al Shibli.
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He added that taxi drivers have raised this issue with the Muscat Municipal Council and the Ministry of Transport and Communication.
This demand for a higher tariff comes at a time when the Omani capital, Muscat already tops the GCC region in airport taxi fares, where the rates begin from OMR6. That’s more than twice as high as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha, where the taxi fares begin from OMR2.5.
When contacted, an official from OAMC said the company had given two choices to the taxi drivers: “Either they had to pay 700 baisas per trip or pay OMR250 per year. They have chosen 700 baisas and now it’s not fair to pay less than what they have already agreed for.”
The official added that this agreement had been arrived at a long time ago and would be implemented soon.
There are around 300 airport taxis registered with the OAMC. “While most of them are metered, there are around 30 taxis functioning without the meter system,” the official said, adding that they are in the process of installing meters in all taxis.
The OAMC official, however, stressed that there has been no change in fares, which begins from OMR6.
“The fares are still the same and the taxis that don’t have metres too still follow the same fares,” the official added.
Justifying the high fares, an airport taxi driver, said Oman’s airport taxis provide luxurious service with latest cars of premium brands.
“That is one of the reasons we charge more,” he said.