(MENAFN - Arab News) A number of leading investors in the Kingdom's taxi sector have plans to establish a giant company with a capital of SR 1 billion.
Saeed Al-Bassami, deputy chairman of the National Committee for Land Transport, said more than 730 investors who own about 30,000 cabs are seriously thinking of transforming their firms into a joint stock company within two years.
Under the plan, the limousine sector would embrace most of the features of the London taxi system.
According to Al-Bassami, there will be seven branch companies under the umbrella of a parent company in major cities in the Kingdom.
The parent company will have 25 leading investors who own a total of 15,000 taxis as its members.
The parent company will likely attract 645 new investors to this sector. The total number of investors will then reach 1,375, owning a total of 43,000 taxis, Al-Madinah daily reported. Al-Bassami said the parent company would spearhead the initiative to reorganize the taxi sector in the Kingdom.
He added: "The process of merging the taxi firms into major companies will be optional in the beginning. At later stages, the merger will be completed in an organized manner to encompass all the taxis operating in the Kingdom."
The newly developed system will extend various services with an emphasis on the quality of service.
He added: "Under the system, all taxis will be monitored through a satellite channel. Their movement, location, and direction will be under surveillance using GPS technology."
He added this would help taxi companies know the whereabouts of each cab and allow parents to keep an eye on daughters who take a taxi.
Under the new system, there will be a change in the design of taxis and the logo of the company will be placed on the rear side door of the vehicle.
The color of taxis would be white with a beige roof.
There will be independent branch companies in Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah, Madinah, Taif, Eastern Province, Northern Borders and southern provinces.
Al-Bassami said the ministries of transport and labor have given the go ahead for the new system.
The ministries have offered full support to implement it once investors complete all necessary procedures.
Al-Bassami said a study to modernize the Kingdom's transport system has been completed and is now awaiting implementation.
Authorities have been urged to upgrade the Kingdom's public transport system, especially the taxi sector. Some of them stressed the need for introducing the London taxi system. However, some others noted this system would be counterproductive as it entails higher operation costs and customers would pay more.
Minister of Transport Jabbara Al-Seraisy recently suggested introducing the system, according to Salem Al-Bulaiwi, deputy chairman of the Land Transport Committee at Asharqiya.
"During a meeting with the minister in Riyadh, he suggested introducing this meter-priced system in the Eastern Province. The plan's implementation has been delayed due to our objections to the high fares starting from SR 50."
He added it would be very difficult to introduce this system in the Kingdom, as this would benefit only the wealthy.