As part of state transportation company Mowasalat’s ongoing plans to expand its Karwa taxi fleet, the first of a new wave of yellow-roofed cabs will hit the streets tomorrow.
The new taxis will be managed by Profit Group, which will introduce 50 new taxis this week. The company plans to increase the fleet by an 50 additional cars each week until it reaches a target of 500 by the end of the year, a spokesman told Doha News.
Profit is the third private operator to operate taxis under the Karwa brand.
It already runs more than 1,500 cabs in Dubai under the “Cars Taxi” brand, making it the second-largest fleet operator in the emirate. Profit will brand its Doha taxis under the “Cars Taxi” name as well.
The fleet of yellow-topped taxis was initially slated to be run by Petro Qatar. However, those plans were scrapped last summer after the company was found to not have met licensing requirements.
By the numbers
There are currently around 3,000 turquoise Karwa taxis on Qatar’s streets, including 1,200 grey-roofed cars run by Mowasalat.
Al Ijarah operates 1,000 taxis with blue roofs and Al Million has around 800 with maroon tops. The first two franchisees were brought on board in 2012, after Mowasalat announced an expansion to its fleet in a bid to deal with increasing demand for its services.
Earlier this year, Mowasalat announced it had appointed two additional operators – Profit and Ibn Ajayan, who would each bring an extra 500 cars on to the streets before the year end, to bring the total Karwa cab fleet to around 4,000.
Ibn Ajayan was supposed to start running the first 300 of its green-topped taxis by August or September. However, a Mowasalat spokesman told Doha News they were not yet operational. A revised date for the launch is still pending.
Mowasalat has also pledged to more than double its fleet to 7,000 taxis in time for the 2022 World Cup, to cater to the up to a million fans who are expected to attend the tournament.
Earlier this year, Mowasalat announced that it planned to entirely privatize the Karwa taxi service by 2017, as it withdraws to become regulator.
It is now looking into contracts with two more franchisees, to create a total of six private operators to take over the running of Karwa – a brand it has run for the past 10 years. The details of these firms have not yet been released by Mowasalat.
Taxis have long been a source of frustration in Qatar, especially over weekends and in the evenings, when passengers say they struggle to get a taxi.
In a bid to streamline the booking process, which is currently operated by the individual firms, Mowasalat said it had plans to set up a unified call center for all Karwa taxis, providing advanced booking services to customers through an electronic system.
Cab drivers who refuse to use the meter, or claim it is broken, are another regular focus of passengers’ ire.
Last month, new tamper-proof meters started to be rolled out across the Karwa taxi fleet, which link directly to the company and flag up any attempts by a driver to interfere with the meters.
However, drivers say that they are often forced to charge higher rates in a desperate attempt just to cover the QR200 a day rental fee many of them have to pay Mowasalat just to drive the taxi.
Drivers operating on commission only must make a minimum each day to be able to keep driving the cars, and with fares so low and traffic so congested, drivers often have a difficult time meeting or going beyond those earnings.
Cab search app
Meanwhile, one entrepreneurial resident is planning to bring his own solution to the problem of tracking down taxis, with the launch of mobile phone app QCab.
Inspired by online transportation booking services like Uber and Careem, which have increased competition in Qatar’s taxi market this year, Palestinian expat Tariq Abdul Hameed Awadallah and his business partners hope to start testing the service soon.
It would allow passengers to search for and book vehicles in their area, but would only work with Karwa cabs and not private limousines.
The whole employment of drivers who hire of the taxi and have to work towards making more then the hire fee each day is flawed. It just leaves the industry open to the types of problems expressed, like meter tampering, not turning it on, or refusing ‘short’ fares.
Some sort of leadership needs to be applied to the industry. Every driver I talk to I ask the magic question…”So do you like being a taxi driver in Qatar?”…Same opening response with different variations of tales of struggle that follow…”No Sir, “. Not a very happy, content and loyal workforce.
It isn’t a flat kilometre rate. There is an idle fare rate already built in to the meter. You can see it ticking when stuck in traffic. Maybe the rate is not high enough to make up for all the time lost in traffic.
Oh ok my mistake, Ill edit my post, thanks for that, I was unaware and had asked the drivers previously.
I think the first 5 mins of waiting is free – after that it starts to clock up on the meter.
I agree that the process is a flawed one. The company really is no more than a car rental agency with a 100% booked rate. The organization makes its money upfront and its employees are left with all of the risk! :-p
So right!! I’m really amazed how bad it is. This should be an easy thing for a country like Qatar to work out. They aren’t reinventing the wheel here. There are many countries where taxi drivers provide a commendable service and are able to make a living/career of it, supporting thir families. I had the terrible misfortune of needing to use Karwa for 6 months and couldn’t believe the operator telling me each day the allocated booking slots for 8:15am were all taken (25 cars). I looked outside my window and could see 20 cars lined up at City Centre, I would ask her “send car 1234 over, I can see him, waiting at CC”….”sorry mam, not possible”. Such a terrible outdated model of a company that will easily fall prey to companies like Uber where you can see the actual cars on the map near to you looking for a fare.
Profit Group and Cars Taxi are probably the worst brand names I have ever seen.
True. “Profit Group” makes you think, there is only one vision, and thats to make money money money. Not to provide any sort of consumer satisfaction, excellent customer service, meet transportation needs of the community, have a well trained and happy workforce, etc whilst turning a profit. Yet again “leadership” gone missing.
A business of such kind cannot make money without consumer satisfaction…unless the business is a monopoly. In that case, they can do whatever they want; something what Qtel did a few years ago.
Exactly. The term “profit” makes me think of banks, hedge funds, greedy businessmen, etc. Definitely not something a service provider would want to be associated with. The second name (Cars Taxi) sounds weird and I do not think it is correct grammatically, unless they wanted it like this on purpose.
All of these companies confuse me. Aren’t they all owned by Mowasalat? So why so many different names?
Isnt’ Mowsalat the government company that runs some of the taxi’s as well as the buses? The other, Al Million etc. are private companies that provide the same service. I think the Karwa brands it name for public transport generally in Qatar.
Would the service and availability of taxis be any better with the yellow roof taxis. What the passengers don’t need first thing in the morning is taxi drivers spoiling your day with all their sob stories or fiddling with the meter or not turning on the meter and then demanding more money from the passengers. If the illegal private taxis are still in circulation this days it is mainly because the present taxi services are not up to their job and have made a mess of the system
I hope this will be actioned. This is very treatening to us normal citizens. Email me and im glad To share how traumatizing this driver was. [email protected]
Tell me how you care about customers?Be the king of the road? Your employee has treatened citezens. Plate 5214 yellow roof 18/06/2015 around 1515H-1520H. Would you be able to share how do you screen your employee’s when hiring them. We’ve been traumatized by the furious and unreasonable action of your employee. How do we profit then? He tried To throw stones at anyone who comes near to calm him. Is this service? What if I’m with my family? How can i protect them from this kind of actions? He even got physical he grabbed my trauser and got hurt. How can we be safe with this kind of driver’s? Your employee. After calmng him by his passenger he flewed as nothing happens.