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Advocate, commuters’ complaints put spotlight on attitude of taxi drivers

By Laila Azzeh - Oct 05,2015 - Last updated at Oct 05,2015

Some taxi drivers are accused of bad behaviour, activists say, while a unionist say these are an insignificant minority (Photo by Osama Aqarbeh)

AMMAN – Commuting by taxi is not always a pleasant experience for many Amman residents due to “bad attitude of some drivers”, according to a consumer advocate, who was challenged by the syndicate representing cabbies. 

Several commuters and head of the consumer protection committee (CPC) at the Professional Associations Complex on Sunday charged that several taxi drivers have off-putting attitudes such as breaching meter regulations, rejecting customers based on destination and smoking during the trip. 

CPC head Bassim Kiswani told The Jordan Times that some taxi drivers “violate public morals either in the way they dress or the type of phone conversations they engage in while driving”. 

“We hear many complaints from people on the very shameless acts of some taxi drivers,” Kiswani said, describing their behaviour as “thuggery”. 

The head of the advocacy group said some cabbies speed, do not abide by the set fares, refrain from turning on the meters and smoke cigarettes without even asking for the passengers’ permission.

“Some also pull over outside hotels, seeking higher rates from guests, while others negotiate for extra money to agree to go to certain areas,” said Kiswani, who urged the Interior Ministry and the Public Security Department to “deal with violators with an iron fist”.

“We do not have decent public transportation in Jordan and taxis are considered the only option for a large number of citizens and guests,” he said.

The concerns of Kiswani were echoed by Iman Odeh, an employee at a private company in Amman, who said she began to dislike going to work as she has to take a cab to and from her house on a daily basis. 

“It is very rare to find a taxi driver who abides by regulations. Some text while driving and others drive very fast,” she told The Jordan Times. 

Faten Alabbasi had the same sentiments, accusing cabbies of being selective in picking up passengers, particularly in the summer. 

During the hot season, taxi drivers reject passengers because they do not like to go to certain destinations, said the 28-year-old employee.  

“In any profession you can find good and bad employees. And there are good and bad taxi drivers,” said Firas Khadra, who urged authorities to enforce more control on the sector as there is a large number women using this type of transportation on a regular basis.

 

Unionist rejects claims 

 

Ahmad Abu Haidar, president of the Transport Services and Taxi Owners Union refuted accusations related to practices of drivers, saying such claims harm the reputation of the Kingdom. 

“Such behaviour is practised by thugs and not by cabdrivers who have to go through a rigorous process before joining the profession,” he said in comment on Kiswani’s remarks.

He added that drivers should be above 22 years of age and should also obtain public transport licences and certificates of good conduct. 

“We cannot deny that a few drivers have some distasteful practices, but they make up no more than 2 per cent,” said Abu Haidar, who noted that there are around 17,000 taxis in Jordan and 3,000 (fixed-route) service cabs.

He said that taxi drivers in Jordan “are known for their honesty and decency”.

“Listen to local radio stations every morning and you will hear tens of calls from drivers who report on belongings of passengers being left in their cars, such as mobile phones, jewellery and money,” he said.

 

Officials from the public security and central traffic departments could not be reached despite several attempts to contact them to comment on the issue. 

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Comments

I used to ride yellow taxi because i don't have choices which only a faster way to go for my destination, but unfortunately i have always problem with yellow cab driver on the following daily basis here in Amman:

1. They Not using there Meter Either they said its broke, so why the land transportation accept this.
2. Over charged price, triple not double price.
3. Smoking a lot even you already coughing from smoke they don't mine.
4. Young Teen Driver? driving recklessly.
5. They not drooping you in your right destination suddenly they will ask you to go down this is far as they go.

this very upset condition i encounter here in Jordan Yellow Cab, that's why i preferred the other taxi company like Muntaz they have good service.

Hoping Jordan Transportation Regulation Should Review there Policy in Yellow Cab.

"Ahmad Abu Haidar, president of the Transport Services and Taxi Owners Union refuted accusations related to practices of drivers, saying such claims harm the reputation of the Kingdom."

I'm guessing he's never been in a taxi in Jordan. In Jordan you don't simply get in the cab when it pulls up for you, it stops, he rolls down the window, you lower your head, smile and ask if he would be kind enough to take you somewhere, hoping that it wouldn't be too much of a hassle for him. For example, think twice before uttering the word "Shemisany", I usually offer to pay double the meter so they would accept to take me there. I was asked twice to leave the car because they changed their minds. At times I've waited for more than an hour for a taxi, because they either won't stop for me (because I'm a guy) or they stop and ask me where I'm going, and decide that's too troublesome, or not worth the trip.

In conclusion, don't jump to defend the taxi drivers, they don't respect their jobs, hence no one respects them. Imagine a doctor saying "oh no, sorry I don't treat this kind of disease, I prefer other diseases, they are more lucrative", that's exactly how they sound.

I am glad to see this article but post a phone number or web address to complain. As an American I continually get cabbies who turn off their meters and charge high rates, who refuse to go to the sug areas and who are continually harassing me on how many children I have and how they want to go to America. A Muslima should feel secure to ride in any cab and not be subjected to such treatment. Then there are cabbies who do much worse. Although our King has told us not to pay a cabbie who has no meter, you must get into a huge fight to get this. Prosecution of bad cabbies is all you can do.

I'm from Ukraine but I have a passport Jordanian.lm constantly confronted with the problem when seed in the taxi I had to do a bunch of notes and pay triple the rate it, because they think I'm a tourist! Give the number where you can call and make complein!

To say that taxi drivers in Amman are known for their honesty is a joke. They seem to be discouraging people from using public transportation. A disgrace.

The Taxi Owners Union does not know what they are talking about. Thousands of dissatisfied Taxi riders can attest to that. Strict regulations and a complaint system should be implemented that will revoke the drivers license of any taxi driver that does not comply.

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