Smart taxis in all cities in 45 days

48Under new laws for public taxis that come into effect in 45 days, commuters in the Kingdom will no longer hail cabs on the streets.

Taxis will be provided with the most advanced communication technology, so passengers can call a taxi company to arrange a pickup. Sources involved in the new taxi legislation told local media that these regulations come as part of a set of solutions to reduce traffic congestion in the cities. The sources added that renewal of licenses for taxi companies will be withheld until they comply with the new regulations.

As part of these directives, it is stipulated that each vehicle will have a device installed that directly links it with the National Information Center of the Ministry of Interior. Using audio communication devices or via the internet, each taxi company will have at least one vehicle equipped with special appliances to serve handicapped people, a dress code for the drivers and will pay attention to their drivers’ personal hygiene.

Those who violate the new regulations will face fines that range from SR500 to SR2,000. A Transport Ministry committee will ensure the application of the regulations, noting that specified parking sites will be allocated for the taxis in Riyadh, Jeddah and Damman, in a bid to curb the number of vehicles on the streets.

The most challenging reason for traffic congestion in the cities are taxis, since more than 200,000 vehicles, mostly driven by expatriates, crowd the already busy streets.

There have been public demands for some time for regulating and developing the sector in terms of services offered, economic feasibility, hygiene issues, prices and protection of passengers.

An official at the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) said a project will soon be in place to improve taxi services at international airports of the Kingdom (King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh and King Fahd International Airport in Dammam).

The project will later be extended to include all domestic airports across the country so that taxis will be modern and equipped with the most advanced technologies to offer quality services.

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