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Amman taxi drivers refuse customers, manipulate meters, passengers say

By Ahmed Bani Mustafa - Oct 31,2016 - Last updated at Oct 31,2016

Taxi drivers must abide by speed limits, take the shortest route and use the meter, according to regulations (File photo)

AMMAN — Residents of Amman expressed dissatisfaction with the capital's taxi drivers, who they say speed, refuse fares to inconvenient destinations, fail to use meters and do not know directions. 

Taxi drivers recently interviewed by The Jordan Times said they hoped a government study on public transport fees would lead to an increase in fares.  

But Ahmad Abu Ali, an accountant at a food manufacturing company who takes a taxi to work every day, said drivers should abide by traffic rules before asking for any rise in fees.

""I live in Shafa Badran and I take a taxi daily to my job in Khalda. Most of the time taxi drivers are annoying. They are never dressed properly and sometimes some of them smell bad," Abu Ali claimed.  

Most taxi drivers speed and disregard their passengers, he charged. 

"I went to Dubai several times. The taxi drivers there are dressed very nicely and they drive according to the speed limits. They do not tell you the story of their life on the way like they do here. Taxi drivers need to focus on work ethics rather than just asking for extra money," Abu Ali added.

Land Transport Regulatory Commission Spokesperson Abla Wishah told The Jordan Times that the commission has no authority over the field performance of taxi drivers.

"The commission's job is to grant licences to taxi agencies and taxis, and check on the specifications of vehicles," she said, adding that the field is the Traffic Department's responsibility.

In every taxi, there are guidelines and instructions telling passengers about rules that the driver must abide by, such as speed limits, taking the shortest route, not smoking and using the meter, Wishah said.

If a taxi driver does not use the meter, the customer has the right not to pay, she noted. 

Another customer, commenting on Facebook, said even finding a taxi willing to accept a passenger can be a struggle. 

"I always had a hard time finding a cab," the customer wrote, explaining that drivers do not stop, and when they do, they ask about the destination. 

"If they do not like it, they ask you to step out."

Another commenter agreed. "They are providing a service. They are not allowed to refuse customers, change the meter or add extra [charges because of]... fuel prices or traffic congestion."

Meanwhile, some taxi drivers park their cars near five-star hotels or night clubs, hoping to extract higher fares from tourists who might not be familiar with local fares, the currency or directions.  

Taxi driver Abu Adam said not all drivers are the same, adding that most are professionals who abide by the rules of the job.   

"Some of the drivers do choose clients according to their destinations, as going to some areas means getting stuck in a traffic jam or having to drive back empty," he said.

 

The only requirement to become a taxi driver is to have an appropriate driving licence and pass a security background check, Abu Adam said, noting that some drivers are new to the job and are not yet familiar with directions.

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