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People rush to board an illegal taxi in Doha.
DOHA: The Traffic Department has begun cracking down on illegal taxi operators and recently rounded up some 80 vehicles and their drivers for offering cab services in violation of the law.
The drivers were fined QR3,000 and sternly warned that they should not repeat the violation, it is understood.
“Using private cars as taxi is a violation of the traffic law. It has a negative effect on the national economy and causes traffic accidents,” Capt Saud Al Khater, Head of Traffic Department in Al Mamoura, said in an interview published in a police magazine.
He said they captured around 80 illegal taxis in a recent crackdown.
Mohammadd Bashir, a consultant at the Traffic Department, said that it is prohibited to use private cars for other purposes and illegal taxi drivers are liabled to be fined QR3,000.
He said those involved in illegal taxi operations are mostly low-income Asian expatriates.
Illegal taxis began mushrooming when the old taxis were pulled from the roads before the Karwa taxis were introduced. Lieutenant Ghanem Sultan Al Ghanim of the Traffic Dept in Mamoura, said that many private taxis pick up four to five people and charge them QR5 each.
“We ask them their names (during inspections) and whether they know each other or not and if they don’t know each other, we capture the car, slap a fine of QR3,000 and keep the car for a month.
In case the driver is not the owner, the violation is filed against the driver and the car is kept for one to three months before being returned to the owner, he said.
Nasser Al Khanji, Director of Planning at Mowasalat, said the problem of illegal taxis could be solved by increasing the number of legal taxis.
“So we have granted licences to three private companies Al Million, AlIjarah and Petro Qatar,” he said, adding Karwa buses has become very popular with commuters.