Crackdown on illegal transporters intensify in Muscat

Authorities are cracking down on unauthorised transporters as part of the plans to regulate the public transport in the capital.
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, authorities dealing with the implementation of these regulations under the Land Transport Law said.
Several persons were arrested for transporting passengers in private cars from Muscat International Airport this week.
“When accidents happen the authorities are blamed first, but what about those who break the law,” an official at the Ministry of Transport and Communication (MoTC) told the Observer. According to the ministry, unauthorised passenger transport by illegal taxis to and from Muscat International Airport will attract a fine of RO 200, says MoTC.
Mwasalat is the licensed operator to pick up passengers from the airport while private vehicles are free to drop and pick passengers. But they have to move out of the arrivals/departure area within 10 minutes. Private transporters also face a fine of RO 35 from ROP making the total penalty RO235.
Under the new Land Transport Law, practicing any type of land transportation activities (including those managed by expatriates) is prohibited. “We are concerned with school transport due to safety concerns. Most of the school bus operators are licenced and we don’t have much issues with them. But with regards to school transportation, not much attention is given,” said a source at Royal Oman Police (ROP).
“We are not against anyone dropping a friend or a relative or their children to the school or airport. It is easy to find out whether someone is doing it for business or not,” he said.
“My friend was recently stopped by the police near one of the Indian schools as he was ferrying three children, including my neighbour’s. They did not penalise as they were convinced of my reply,” said Parthasarthy, whose children study at one of the leading Indian schools.
At the same time, there have been cases of penalties being imposed and cars seized for want of convincing answers.
“I know someone who was fined RO 235 for illegal transportation. His vehicle was seized and released after he paid the fine. No idea whether he was at fault, but was penalized for sure,” said the manager for a licenced school bus operator.
“Some unscrupulous players are bringing bad name to all taxi operators by reckless driving, charging exorbitant fares and by exceeding the passenger limit,” said Haitham al Haitham, a taxi driver.