DOHA: Qatar will soon have three new private taxi operators, besides the two private companies that are operating cabs.
Public transport company, Mowasalat, said yesterday that it will issue tenders after Eid Al Adha inviting bids from three prospective companies to operate taxis on a franchise basis.
The state-backed Mowasalat, which runs the Karwa taxis, opened the sector to competition last year, allowing three companies to launch taxi services in the initial phase.
Currently, two companies — Al Million and Al Ijarah Holding — run more than 1,000 maroon- roofed and blue-roofed taxis, respectively, that add to the nearly 2,500 Karwa taxis. A third company — Petro Qatar — had also been given permission but it has reportedly been taken over by Al Ijarah.
Mowasalat said that tender process to select three new companies will begin after Eid Al Adha holidays.
The private taxi companies operate on a franchise basis and are required to follow the tariffs and quality standards set by Mowasalat. Their cabs will carry the Karwa logo, along with their company logo.
An official from Al Million, which launched its first fleet of taxis in July last year, said the services have stabilised in more than a year. The company now operates 500 taxis and is all set to add another 150.
“Initially there were many complaints from passengers, especially about the drivers, who were not familiar with places in Qatar. Now such complaints have come down. The number of passengers has also increased significantly after the summer holidays,” he said.
He said the taxi service has become more viable, with a fall in the number of illegal cabs on the streets, following a crackdown by authorities.