Someone should tell them not to hold their breaths? Qatar's taxis doubling their operations in anticipation for 2022 World Cup
Qatar’s public transportation company Mowasalat plans to more than double its current fleet of taxis by the time the 2022 World Cup comes around, a senior official has said.
The state-backed firm has confirmed plans to ensure that 7,000 taxis are on the roads before the world football tournament gets underway in Qatar, where up to a million fans are expected to attend the games.
The current Karwa fleet hovers around 3,000 cars.
Some 1,200 of those are Mowasalat-run taxis, and the rest are operated by two franchisees – 1,000 blue-roofed cars from Al Ijarah, and 800 from maroon-roofed Al Million.
A Mowasalat spokeswoman said that Qatar would have a total of 4,000 taxis by the end of this year.
Earlier this year, Mowasalat’s CEO Khalid Al-Hail said that contracts had been awarded to two new taxi franchisees.
The third operator, Ibn Ajayan, will have 300 cars on the road by the summer, with a further 200 by the end of the year, Mowasalat’s spokeswoman told Doha News.
An announcement about Profit Trading & Contracting Company, the fourth franchisee confirmed by Mowasalat, will be issued “soon,” she added.
Mowasalat has previously said that it was looking into tender contracts to bring another two firms on board, creating a total of six franchises under the Karwa taxi brand, which has been operating for more than 10 years.
Previous plans to roll out yellow-roofed taxis from firm Petro Qatar were scrapped for not meeting licensing requirements last summer.
Just last month, Mowasalat announced that Qatar’s Karwa taxi service will be run entirely by private firms by 2017, as it withdraws to operate solely as a regulator.
Mowasalat was unable to confirm what would happen to more than 1,000 taxis it currently runs, or if it will continue to set fares for all its franchisees.
In a bid to counter customer complaints of difficulties booking a car, the firm has plans to set up a unified call center for all Karwa taxis, providing advanced booking services to customers through an electronic system, Mowasalat said in a statement.
Currently, each of the firms operate its own call center and booking service.
In reference to the latest announcement, Mowasalat’s Executive Director of Support Services, Nasser al Khanji, was quoted in Qatar Tribune as saying: “In addition to adhering to safety standards, and providing well-trained drivers who would take the passengers safely to their destination, Mowasalat also aims to project the aspirations and image of Qatar at home and abroad.” As Qatar’s population continues to increase, many residents complain about problems in getting a taxi, especially during evenings and weekends.