Muscat: The Ministry of Transport, Communications, and Information Technology (MTCIT) has issued a statement that two licensed companies will operate taxis at Muscat International Airport from Sunday
Both the two operators confirmed to the Observer that they begin services from tomorrow.
MTCIT said that it licenses to manage the taxi service at Muscat International Airport to OTaxi and Oman Taxi applications after they met the requirements and provisions of the regulatory regulations of the Land Transport Law. Both companies are giving priority via applications to current owners of taxis operating at Muscat International Airport.
The companies will train them, develop their skills, and fulfill all technical requirements specified by the ministry in the license in order to improve the public transportation system in the Sultanate of Oman.
Airport taxi drivers will be given the opportunity to transport passengers to the airport, which will benefit them from this service that was not previously available to them, and the provision of the service at the airport will be limited to those organizing these applications only.
The ministry allows companies to offer trips at fixed prices determined before the trip.
According to sources, it will cost much much less than current charges of RO2.500 (starting fare) and 400 baisas for each kilometer costs up to 40 km. After that, 200 baisas are charged for every kilometer. The fares will be announced by the MTCIT.
The high airport taxi fares forced users to resort to illegal transportation, which is banned under the Land Transportation Law. Taxies will be also equipped with route tracking and monitoring systems to ensure the privacy and security of the user.
Speaking to the Observer, Harith Maqbali - Chief Executive Officer - OTaxi, "This decision is highly welcome and it will be more than the on-demand rates but will be less than the current airport taxi fares."
MTCIT urged taxi drivers operating at airports to join the licensed applications before October 1, and the provision of the service at airports will be limited to these two companies.
Currently, there are eight app-based services, which include one for women taxi drivers. MTCIT has released the timetable for taxi owners to join the licensed applications. The ministry stated that the first phase includes taxi drivers operating at the airports of the Sultanate of Oman, while the second phase will cover tourist complexes, hotels, commercial centers, and ports beginning from November 1.
The third phase will cover white and orange street taxis from January 1, which are currently mandated to operate as per a mobile-based meter called Aber. This will coincide with the Ministry’s launch of the “Aber app,” which is a smart application that includes all licensed taxi applications in the Sultanate of Oman, which helps users of taxi services easily access the applications in one window and choose their desired destination through the immediate or advanced reservation system.
Within the Aber program, the ministry seeks to improve the taxi sector by using advanced technologies It may be noted that the MTCT has been cracking down on illegal transportation activities in the capital, including at the airport
A fine of RO200 is imposed on the drivers by the ministry officials if booked for illegal transportation. An airport taxi operator told the Observer, “We get few passengers from the airport due to illegal services. We are paying fees for the operating card, insurance, parking, and fuel.”