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With a day to go, taxi drivers keep fingers crossed on new rule

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With just a day to go, the Orange and White taxi operators in the Sultanate of Oman are keeping their fingers crossed on the regulations which will come into effect from June 1.

From June 1, all Orange and White taxi drivers will charge their clients or passengers based on the fares calculated by the Aber digital or mobile fare meter.

“The Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology seeks to regulate taxis in the country as per the provisions of Ministerial Resolution No 195/2018 issued on December 26, 2018, regarding determining the tariff for taxis,” an official statement said.

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The Aber digital meter will be used only in street taxis, while the on-demand services will operate as per the pre-determined fares in line with the regulations of the ministry.

Speaking to the Observer, Mohammed, a taxi operator, said, “We have no option but to use this mobile-based meter as per the law, but the area of contention is that will some of our lowly-paid travellers can afford to pay the new fare structure.”

Khalid, another taxi operator, said, “The rule will have little impact, except on some migrant workers who prefer to travel on a shared basis. Mostly, taxi users now depend on the on-demand services, which have now become competitive as the market currently has eight operators.”

With regard to fares, the starting fare of 300 baisas will be set on the meter at the beginning of the trip, 130 baisas will be added to the fare...

after every 1 km, while 50 baisas will be added as a waiting period after the free five minutes of waiting. A driver is obligated to use the meter at the start of the trip; otherwise, the entire journey will be deemed free. In the case of multiple passengers, the fare will be equally divided between them. While the decision to implement operate all taxis as per fare meters has been implemented several times in the past, it failed due to resistance from drivers who questioned the high cost involved in installing such meters, apart from the regular maintenance costs. “The new app-based meter will address those issues, and we expect cooperation also from the customers, who should ensure that drivers operate as per regulations and report any violations,” sources in the ministry said. Nasser, a citizen and occasional taxi traveller, said, “We hope this rule will contribute to improving the quality of service and achieving the satisfaction of both passengers and drivers. We hope that this step will be the beginning of improvements and innovations in the public transport sector in the country.” A source in the ministry said: ”Some glitches are expected in the coming days, but this time we will make sure that the decision is implemented at its fullest. It is important to promote Oman as a welcoming destination for both the local population and visitors.”

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