Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority plans to introduce 3,268 new taxis over the next five years, an increase of 34 per cent compared to 2015 fleet numbers, the RTA revealed on Saturday.
The plan is to increase the number of taxis in operation from 9,497 vehicles in 2015 to 12,765 vehicles by 2020, the RTA said.
The step was taken in response to increasing demand for taxi services in Dubai. According to official statistics, taxis made about 109 million trips serving more than 217 million riders in Dubai last year.
A study was conducted based on availability of taxicabs and the number of productive kilometres compared with the number of kilometres covered by taxicabs.
Historical, current and future details about the population and tourists in the emirate were also collected and analysed.
Director general and chairman of the RTA Mattar Al Tayer said: “The number of taxicabs in operation last year amounted to 8997 vehicles, which has soared this year to 9497 vehicles.
“The five-year plan sets the planned additions of vehicles to the fleet as follows: 880 vehicles in 2016, 552 vehicles in 2017, 580 vehicles in 2018, 612 vehicles in 2019, and 644 vehicles in 2020.”
Al Tayer said that the RTA was aiming to strike a balance between the number of vehicles and the number of riders.
The agency is also looking at introducing smart services to improve customer experience.
“The RTA is committed to improve the quality of services offered by taxicabs through capitalising on smart systems and modern technologies to meet the needs of various customers,” he said.
Last year, RTA launched the Drivers Qualification Centre at Al Ruwayia – the first specialised smart centre for training taxi drivers – including those working at franchise companies and chauffeurs of on-demand deluxe limos operating in Dubai under the supervision of the Public Transport Agency.
“The centre aims at improving the traffic safety level within the taxi service and the quality of services offered to taxi riders in a bid to make them happier,” he said.
The agency also recently launched the Taxi Service Excellence Award to recognise the best taxi company and the top 10 taxi drivers in Dubai to boost motivation, he stated.
Dubai’s population, which stands at over 2.4 million, is growing rapidly as the emirate gears up to host the mega Expo 2020 event.
The emirate is also aiming to welcome 20 million tourists by 2020, while the six-month long expo alone is slated to bring in 25 million visitors.
To cope with additional demand for public transport, the RTA is also working on boosting Dubai Metro and Tram operations by 2020.