09 January, 2007

Ridesharing with a friend haram in Dubai?

In an earlier post below, samuraisam brought to our attention ridesharing.ae.

Several commenters remembered reading a recent story in the Gulf News that suggested this practice was illegal in Dubai, but could not find the article. I also looked via a search of the Gulf News archives and via Google (which often works better in searching for Gulf News articles), and was unsuccessful.

I did, however, find this at The Dubai Life blog. An extract:
A Driver in Dubai who gave his friend a lift was fined Dhs 2000 ($544) for running an illegal taxi service, reports the Gulf News today.

Thomas Mathew who gave his friend a lift to the post office from his home and was subsequently handed this stupid fine by the Roads Traffic Authority (RTA) commented:

"I was going to the post office and he asked whether I could drop him at his workplace. We live across the street and I thought it would not be out of my way," said the Indian accountant, who refuses to pay the fine.

Thomas even has photos to prove that he is DOES actually know his friend and not as a passenger, not sure why he would need to provide photos just to justify giving a lift to someone.
. . .
With Dubai's roads as they are in permanent jam and chaos I welcome people car sharing as it will help save the planet, stop the smog and reduce the number of cars on the roads, this is a view shared by Thani Saeed Al Falasi, Director of the Licensing and Quality Control Department at the Roads and Transport Authority who said:

"There are no restrictions on friends sharing a car without paying any money,"

But how often have you shared your car for a week going to and from work with colleagues and payed your share for the petrol is he now saying this is illegal?

Posted by Waseem Aslam on 12/01 at 11:01 PM
If you manage to find the Gulf News article archived or cached please provide the link in the comments. UPDATE: In the comments poo provides the Gulf News link. Thank you.

A similar earlier article was linked to by samuraisam over at his blog onebigconstructionsite. An extract of that Gulf News article (my emphasis):
Al Falasi said that illegal taxis are popular because they are cheaper. "There are two kinds of illegal taxis. Some people drive around the city in their private cars and provide illegal taxi service while some people offer organised car-lifts or car-pooling services taking passengers from their homes to work on a regular basis. They charge passengers on weekly or monthly basis," he said. He clarified that both types of service are illegal.

"There are no restrictions on friends sharing a car without paying any money," he said.

He said that the department's inspectors were experienced enough to know whether passengers are using car-lift or just sharing with a friend.

For illegal taxi operators, he said, the inspectors stop such cars while picking a passenger.

Illegal taxis or car-lifts are more popular with passengers coming from Sharjah to Dubai. "We don't have any problem if they bring passengers from Sharjah but we do not allow an illegal taxi to pick up passengers in Dubai," Al Falasi clarified.
Blocking entry into the taxi market protects the profits of authorized taxi companies. The pretense of public safety is only partially plausible.

Sharjah and Dubai, of course, both have their own authorized taxi companies. That neither permits the other to pick up passengers in their emirate is a continued sign of a lack of cooperation between them. And it contributes directly to the congestion problem because taxis are forced to return empty after driving a passenger to the other emirate. It's not too surprising either that drivers can be surly about taking you from one emirate to the other. They get compensated according the number of paying rides they complete. Come to think of it the restrictions that force returning empty only push the drivers to work more hours to stay ahead. And overworked drivers are a safety issue.

1 comment:

Post a Comment

NOTE: By making a post/comment on this blog you agree that you are solely responsible for its content and that you are up to date on the laws of the country you are posting from and that your post/comment abides by them.

To read the rules click here

If you would like to post content on this blog click here