Wednesday, 24 March 2010

A New Iniquity

Old Petrol Pump 1Image by gerry balding via Flickr
Mr. G. tells me of a new iniquity being heaped on the heads of Sharjah’s already stressed-out cabbies. A new dictat from Das Company means that now they’re not allowed to buy more than Dhs50 of petrol in any given day – if they do, it’s to come out of their own pockets.

All of the cabbies working for the new ‘regulated’ taxi companies are remunerated purely on a commission-only basis – there is no basic salary whatsoever paid to them, despite this being in contravention of the current labour law.

They have to make Dhs 275 a day in fares to even have a chance of making money on their commission-only deal. If they make less, apparently they’re fined by some companies. They’re also fined for a wide range of things, from failing to stop for a fare through to picking up near the airport. In fact, a lot of people walk from Sharjah airport all the way to the ADNOC station on the airport road to avoid the Dhs20 surcharge that the airport taxis levy. Mr G got fined Dhs150 for picking up a passenger outside the ADNOC station, which has not made him happy. Given that he is an unusually lugubrious chap at the best of times, this is fascinating to observe. The inspectors who prowl the streets preying on unsuspecting cabbies are, of course, remunerated on the number of fines they dole out, a nicely sadistic way of harnessing unenlightened self-interest.

Interestingly, Dhs50 doesn’t even fill a Toyota Camry. At the 'new' "We've put the rates up to accommodate the drivers" rate of Dhs1.5 per kilometre, a taxi would have to travel over 180 Kilometres with a paying passenger to make the Dhs275 daily minimum. And, of course, taxis spend a great deal of time driving around looking for a fare - never more so than in Sharjah right now, where the buses roam left, right and centre for pennies.

You do begin to wonder what they'll think of next...

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Luke said...

I could feel the bile rising as I read this blog. I knew that they were treatd badly ... but this. It's criminal.

I will tip even more generously in future.

Anonymous said...

As long as the shareholders and management of the taxi companies are living in villas with 2 SUV's and 2 cars each, all is well.
The drivers shouldnt complain too much, its their destiny, and complaining against destiny is a sin.
Why is the management exploiting them? God is allowing them to , thats why.
So criticizing the exploitation is like criticizing God.

Sarcasm aside, thats how many people here think, so its not all sarcasm

blue-eyed floozy said...

How do people sleep at night?

Dave said...

Another fine example of UAE human rights at work

HE said...

Petty laws breed great crimes” – Marie Louise De La Ramee

I'm not saying taxi drivers are criminals, but when you are on the verge of losing hope and have almost given up on how you are treated by society, the easiest way out and the most profitable is committing crime.

Rules, regulations, laws and policies like these are what push a human being who is already on the brink of losing his mind to commit crime.

I’m afraid that the taxi drivers will only take out their frustration on the common man. Of course I am not saying they will murder and go all out guns blazing. But I think you know what I mean

Anonymous said...

This is just horrendous, makes my blood boil.

Susan said...

And they wonder why there are so many illegal taxis? Make it impossible for someone to earn a living legally and what happens? They still have to earn a living so they'll find another way. Is this rocket science or are the guys who make these "decisions" just unbelievably dense?

Seabee said...

And on a lighter note: "...from failing to stop for a fair...", Alex?

A fair?

alexander... said...

Fixed the literal. It was early and I was sitting in an airport, right?


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