Future of Taxi in MENA

The UITP MENA Division in partnership with the Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC) organised a series of activities related to Taxi Transport in Dubai.

The UITP Taxi and Ride Hailing Committee meeting was held in Dubai 3-4 November and was hosted by DTC to benefits from international taxi experts and discuss taxi priorities for MENA. Highlights from the meeting included forming two groups on E Taxi and Regulations in Taxi Transport to further develop knowledge on these topics.  

Joe Ma, Deputy General Manager, Pengcheng Electric Taxi Company -Shenzhen Bus Group and Chair of UITP’s Taxi and Ride Hailing Committee welcomed the hosting of the committee meeting in Dubai. He emphasized how the committee can share and benefit from experiences in MENA.

The first meeting and launch of MENA Taxi Working Group held on 4 November was attended by authorities, operators and key players from industry to highlight key priorities for MENA, including:

  • Taxi Fleet management
  • Service and quality control
  • Shift to electric vehicles
  • Relationship with e-hailers

The Grand Finale of the week, the Future of Taxi in MENA Workshop was held on 5 November. The workshop was attended by 75 participants and 13 Speakers from six different countries.

Mr. Obaid Al Mulla, Member of RTA Board of Directors gave the key opening speech. He welcomed the participants and highlighted the importance of Taxi Transport in the region, including providing first and last mile mobility solution. He also emphasized the success of Dubai as a case study for the region to learn how to formalise the Taxi Transport and embrace the new players in the market.

In the first panel where we are heading: International trends in taxi, Sylvain HAON, Senior Director - Strategy, UITP key note speech highlighted digitalization, connectivity, and customer focus as the latest mobility trends. The transport sector is moving towards tailor-made, responsive, accessible, and environmentally friendly services. Speakers from China Chris Liang, Operations Manager, International Development Dept., Shenzhen Bus Group Co., Ltd, explained that cities need to move from conservative to progressive approach with regulation of Taxis, while taking into consideration new developments in ride-hailing.

The second session focused on Ride Sharing, Taxi Hailing and the Integration of mobility models. Speakers discussed the impact of ride haling and how regulators and operators need to work together with these players to have a win-win. In the last session on Taxi Drivers Managements, speakers discussed best practices in recruitment and retention of taxi drivers. The driver is the face of the service therefore an efficient recruitment plan and effective recognition and incentives scheme is required to enable expected performance.

Key Takeaways

  1. The taxi sector plays an important role in MENA, often providing the only mobility service for many travellers with no access to public transport.
  2. With the increasing development of public transport systems in the region, taxi transport will also play a key role in providing first and last miles service.
  3. There is no single approach for ensuring the success of taxi transport, however the key is to adapt best practices to meet local conditions, as we have seen success stories from Dubai.
  4. Taxi transport (as part of the urban mobility system) is dealing with some key paradigm shifts, headlined by information technology, Integrated Mobility, and customer-oriented services.
  5. With the exponential growth in new mobility services, integration with traditional taxi transport services is critical in order to ensure optimization of resources and ensuring the highest level of service to the customer.

Along with the conclusion of the workshop, a new Taxi Diploma Programme was launched in partnership between UITP MENA and DTC. Dr Youssef Al Ali, CEO Dubai Taxi Corporation commented on the importance of the program to leaders in Taxi Transport. The programme covers key aspects of Taxi Transport from planning to operations and will be organised from January to March 2020 with graduation planned during the MENA Transport Congress and Exhibition on 13 April 2020. He welcomed all authorities and operators to actively participate in the programme.

We would like to thank Dubai Taxi Corporation as the host, Al Futaim as sponsor and all the participants for making the event a success. We count on your active participation in the UITP MENA Taxi Working Group and look forward to seeing at the MENA Transport Congress and Exhibition next April. 

Please click to know more about the Leaders in Taxi Transport Diploma Programme