The issues related to illegal transportation activities in the capital came to the fore again with the authorities intensifying campaigns to regulate this very important sector.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Transport, Communications, and Information Technology (MoTCIT) reported more than 1,440 violations of illegal transportation by expatriate workers.
It also claimed that 546 violations of the Land Transport Law of 2016 related to transporting and delivering goods by expatriate workers operating without a license.
But the Observer’s social media platform has been flooded with comments by people who have been fined for ferrying even family members or close relatives while dropping them to the airport or for other purposes.
One person commented that his friend was fined for dropping his mother who was on a visa from a different sponsor, while another post was from a person who was fined multiple times while driving with a close friend for shopping.
While Observer cannot verify the authenticity of these claims, the fact however is that the MoTCIT has been taking strong measures to regulate the land transport sector in the Sultanate of Oman.
A fine of RO200 is imposed on the drivers by the ministry officials if caught and booked for illegal transportation.
The Ministry called on companies and individuals in the Sultanate of Oman to adhere to the Land Transport Law as it will continue to implement its inspection and control campaigns.
Under the Land Transport Law issued in 2016, practising any type of land transportation activities (including those managed by expatriates) is prohibited.
Authorities have been cracking down on unauthorised taxis as part of the plans to regulate the public transport system in the capital.
“Illegal transportation is eating into our business all the time and at the same time we are facing stiff competition from legal and licensed taxi operators,” said Bashir, a taxi operator associated with one of the companies.
As a public service, it is essential to regulate any kind of transportation activity, especially those connected to ferrying school children and tourists to and from the airport, according to authorities concerned with the implementation of the Land Transport Law.
“We are concerned with school transportation due to safety concerns though most of the school bus operators are licensed. We are not against anyone dropping a friend or a relative or their children. It is easy to find out whether someone is doing it for business or not,” sources in the MoTCIT said.
The Land Transport Law promulgated by a Royal Decree was expected to regulate one of the highly unorganised sectors by organising the contracts and documents for land transport to ensure the safety of passengers and goods and the compensation in the case of loss or damage to the cargo registered in the transport document.
The law states that the ministry should oversee land transport activities.
The ministry’s Naql online platform offers the one-stop place for licensing, permits, and vehicle registration for individuals, companies, and institutions, including school buses, taxis, and trucks.