Electronic meters in all taxis from June 2019

Muscat, Nov 3 – With the implementation of the Land Transport Law, any type of land transportation activity without a licence from the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) will be not allowed. Ahmed bin Sulaiman al Yarubi, Director of Land Transport, told the Observer that one of the focus areas will be regulation of the taxis operated by individual citizens. Under the rules, all taxi owners should get a permit from MoTC. They can accommodate passengers only on ‘engaged’ basis. They can’t carry another passenger if there is already one present in the vehicle.

The process of installing electronic meters in the orange and white taxis will be implemented in a phased manner. It will begin with Muscat from June 2019. The flag drop fare (starting fare) will be 300 baisas, which will increase at the rate of 130 baisas per kilometre. Al Yarubi said a private company will be identified by the end of this year for the supply of electronic meters. With the implementation of the Land Transport Law, the monitoring of activities of taxis will be moved to MoTC. The Royal Oman Police’s (ROP) role will be limited to vehicle inspection and registration.

All taxis should have an operational card, the cost of which will not exceed RO 15. Al Yarubi said, “Taxi operators will be given a grace period to address the issues related to vehicle engine capacity, age of the vehicle and specific requirements for the driver. “All unlicensed taxis or transport services, including those managed by expatriates, are prohibited under the new law. The new regulations are expected to help regulate the labour market in the transport sector, improve the level of Omanisation and address concerns of the public transport raised by the tourism industry.”

A project for developing an online system for issuing/renewing licenses for commercial vehicles started in July. It will continue in five phases, including for issue of foreign/special permits from January, to be followed by a phase-wise inspection of commercial vehicles. As per the international standards for road transport, a new system will ensure the trucks follow the maximum limit for payloads as per the operational permit. Truck weigh bridges, to be established on Batinah Expressway in cooperation with a private company, will operate 24 hours.

New sites will be allotted for weighing stations on Batinah Expressway (in Shinas towards Muscat), two in Suhar (both directions), two in Suwaiq (both directions) and one station in Barka towards Suhar. Parking lots for trucks will be provided in Suhar in the first stage and an investor will be named by the year-end. The second phase will be implemented in Barka, Adam and Haima and Thamrait.

Vinod Nair