Image by Qiao-Da-Ye賽門譙大爺 via Flickr
Sharjah taxi fares are on the rise again - today's papers carry the joyous news that a minimum fare of Dhs10 will now apply for any taxi journey and that the tariff will increase from Dhs1 per 650 metres to Dhs1 per 620 metres. The reason is, apparently, the franchise companies (who always seem to get cited when the fares are raised rather than Sharjah Transport, the body that is responsible for deciding the hikes).
The Dhs10 minimum charge has been in place in Dubai for some time, but it does seem a tad odd that in Sharjah we are now going to pay a minimum of Dhs10 for any journey when, back in the good old days of yore, private taxis were regulated to having to accept Dhs5 for any journey within the emirate. Ah, the good old days of yore, eh?
Sharjah Transport told Gulf News and others that the rises in the petrol price were to blame, which isn't unreasonable given that fuel prices have gone up by something like 25% this year (based on my Dhs80 going up to Dhs100 to fill up da Paj at ADNOC). However, this is the second price hike this year, the tariff used to be Dhs1 per 800 metres - and with drivers' fuel expenditures and empty/fare ratio carefully capped and monitored by the franchise companies, the new price rises should more than offset any fuel price rises.
Interesting, perhaps, that the anecdotal evidence of regular cabbie Mr G is that it's the bus services that are hurting more than the fuel price hikes. With the merry little yellow Brazilian 'Busscar' buses steadily plying their routes all over Sharjah for no more than a handful of coins, many people have been opting for public transport. With these rises, you could only draw the conclusion that more will join them and the drivers are going to get squeezed even harder.
I can't see the normally somewhat lugubrious Mr G being too happy about this one...