Just a couple days ago, state-run transport company Mowasalat announced bidding for local taxi operators, although what that meant specifically was a bit unclear.
Clarifying that announcement, Mowasalat now says it’s looking for companies to franchise Karwa taxis. The move is meant to introduce competition into Qatar’s taxi sector, and meet some public demands, such as greater availability.
The Gulf Times quotes Mowasalat chairman and managing director Jassim Saif al-Sulaiti as saying:
“We are ready to involve others in the success we have achieved over the previous years, to break the monopoly and to accept competition by granting the franchise to operate a certain number of Karwa taxis.”
A new company would operate up to 500 taxis, and would begin on a five year renewable contract. And the private operator would be required to maintain the same standards as Karwa, including its price and its “high level of customer-handling.”
That said, the company added that ”the kind of technological gadgets or brand in the taxi may appear dissimilar between operators.”
The question is, with so many requirements of potential operators – perhaps most notably maintaining the same prices – can another operator actually provide a service markedly different (i.e. better) than Mowasalat?
Credit: Photo of Qatar’s old taxis by Damon Taylor and released under Creative Commons