DOHA: Taxi passengers are urging all operators to use automatic metres to end complaints about cabbies overcharging customers.
Of the three taxi operators, only Al Ijarah is using automatic metres, The Peninsula has learnt.
Many passengers prefer Al Ijarah taxis because the metre automatically starts the moment a passenger takes his seat.
Karwa and Al Million taxi metres are started manually by drivers, who press the code for ‘outside Doha’ or ‘late night’ to make extra riyals from hapless passengers.
“I make sure I flag an Al Ijarah taxi every time I travel around Doha because they use automatic metres,” said Margie who takes taxi every day to work.
Car seat pressure sensors to activate the metre Al Ijarah has installed in most of its taxis have been successful.
A sensor in the seat is connected to the metre which activates when a passenger boards a taxi.
“The sensor is in the seat and has been made small so drivers cannot manipulate them,” said an Al Ijarah driver.
Al Ijarah taxis also use global positioning system for its metres which detects when a taxi crosses Doha borders and automatically shifts tariff from QR1.2/km to QR1.8/km.
In other taxis, drivers start metres at the start of the journey so the passenger pays more.
“The driver sets the metre to ‘outside Doha’ the moment a passenger boards the taxi, so the passenger pays almost double the fare,” said Assad, who lives in Al Khor and comes to Doha every weekend.
“I always tag along with friends so we won’t pay that much,” he added.
According to an Al Ijarah driver, the new system is fair for both driver and customer.
“If Al Ijarah is able to install such gadget, how come other taxi operators can’t,” wondered Mafaz, an expatriate.
He said authorities must set regulations to rein in unscrupulous drivers and mandate automatic metres for all taxis to solve the problem of overcharging and avoid customer complaints which are not addressed properly by operators.
“All taxi operators should upgrade their metres to automatic ones and this should be mandated by law,” he said.