//Thousands of illegals 'held in unlicensed taxis' in U.A.E

Thousands of illegals 'held in unlicensed taxis' in U.A.E

By Ashfaq Ahmed, Gulf News, 05/30/2006

Dubai: More than 116,000 illegal residents have been nabbed commuting in illegal taxis in Dubai, said a senior official.

"All of these illegals were caught during the corporation's continuous campaign against illegal taxis," said Mohammad Obaid Al Mulla, Chief Executive officer of Public Transport Corporation (PTC) at the Roads and Transport Authority.

The campaign was initiated in the late 1990s.

He said the PTC has played an important role in helping nab some 116,000 illegal residents until April 2006. "They included: passengers with illegal status and drivers [also illegal] caught driving private cars as illegal taxis," Al Mulla said.

He said the illegals were caught with the help of the police while commuting in Dubai in cars and light goods vehicles, which were not officially licensed as taxis.

"They were also caught in the taxis from other emirates that transport people in Dubai illegally without a permit," Al Mulla revealed.

He said the passengers and illegal drivers nabbed comprised 30 per cent of those who came to the UAE on visit visas and overstayed and 70 per cent are those who left their sponsors.

Al Mullah said that Dubai Transport Corporation, which is now called the PTC after its merger with RTA, would launch various projects to benefit increasing numbers of passengers.

"All the taxi companies in Dubai will be linked with satellite system to facilitate passengers and improve service," he said.

With the introduction of the satellite system, linking all the taxi companies, residents in Dubai will be able to call from their telephone to order a taxi from any company. Currently, only Dubai Transport Corporation taxis can be called using the telephone service.

"We are developing a satellite system through which the entire fleet of taxis will be linked and their movement will be monitored," said Al Mulla.

He said the system, which is designed for better time management, will link 6,000 taxis from the corporation with other transport companies.

"They were also caught in taxis from other emirates that transport people in Dubai illegally without a permit."