Saudi considers banning taxis from roaming the streets
Saudi Arabia’s Public Transport Authority is reportedly considering plans to prevent taxis from roaming the streets looking for customers.
Under the new rules, drivers would also be forced to sign up for operating companies linked to car guidance offices.
These would then provide bookings through the Wasl smartphone application.
Saudi Gazette cited transport ministry spokesperson Turki Al-Tuaimi as saying if limousines and taxes were banned from roaming the streets they would be provided with parking lots.
“The authority is currently discussing this issue with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and the directorate general of traffic,” he was quoted as saying.
He added that operators would not be granted licences to work unless they joined car guidance offices and those that fail to supply data to the Wasl platform would be penalised with fines of up to SAR5000 ($1,333).
“Non Saudis using their own private vehicles to transport passengers will be considered violators and will be handed over to the concerned departments for action against them,” Al-Tuaimi said.
The kingdom has 1,540 companies and establishments licensed to operate cabs and limousines with more than 79,000 individual limousine license holders.
He said the car guidance offices were established to promote the public transport consisting of taxicabs and private cars of the Saudi citizens wishing to use them in transporting passengers.
There are also around 21 guidance offices across the kingdom.
The latest plans follow instructions by the transport ministry last May giving taxi companies seven months to modernise their fleets.