A leap into the future? Saudi Arabia to introduce metered taxis
Saudi Arabia will introduce metered taxis for the first time this week.
The move will apply across the kingdom in a bid to stamp out overcharging and ensure a uniform tariff system that would be fairer for passengers, according to the Ministry of Transportation.
Many taxis in the kingdom already have meters installed but they are often broken, turned off or the cab driver refuses to use it, according to Arab News.
Instead, passengers usually bargain with drivers to determine the fare.
Industry spokespeople told Arab News the meters – which are commonly used around the world – would likely lead to increased fares, particularly for shorter trips, because they would start with a flag fall of probably SR5 (US$1) and would be impacted by congested traffic.
Taxi company owner Abdullah Sa’ad said the new fare structure could benefit taxi drivers who work on a slim profit margin.
“Taxi company owners insist their employees deliver a certain daily amount. The cabbies income is the amount left after deduction of the owner's daily amount and fuel cost from the fare earned during the day,” Sa’ad said.
“This amount usually is satisfactory to some of our employees. Some work hard to get more customers. Sometimes we reschedule the amount payable to the employer, especially during summer holidays when the market tends to be in general slowdown.”
Ethiopian taxi driver Taha Saeed told Arab News mandatory meters would minimise exploiting female passengers dependent on drivers.