(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Â The Abu Dhabi Department of Transport (DoT) and its sister organisation TransAD, on Sunday announced severe penalties against illegal commuting of people in the emirate.
The two organisations responsible for transport in the emirate said only DoT and TransAD (The Centre for Regulation of Transport by Hire Cars in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi) will be authorised for all kinds of public transport.
Under the new regulation, even the commuting of small and large company workers will be carried out by the two organisations with special permits issued by the transport firms.
"The new regulations aim at providing the highest standards of safety, security and quality bus services to the public whilst ascertaining that operators and drivers fully abide by DoT rules for the services. Thereby putting an end to any illegally-operated bus services for which financial penalties and legal procedures are imposed," said Director of the Public Transport Division at DoT Hashim Al Hashimi.
Mohamed Al Hosani, Director of Franchise and Licencing at TransAD, said the new regulations are in line with TransAD's aspirations of pioneering in taxi services as per best international practices whilst constantly endeavouring to ensure the highest level of services that are on par with Abu Dhabi's objectives.
He further added any one providing such services in their own vehicles with no valid licence from the concerned entities will incur a fine between Dh5,000 and Dh10,000 as well as imprisonment for no more than 30 days or one of these penalties.
He said: "TransAD had stopped 1,657 illegal commuting cases in Abu Dhabi, 378 in Al Ain as well as 324 cases handed over by Abu Dhabi Police for further investigation since the beginning of this year.
"TransAD is working closely with the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, the Public Prosecution, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, Abu Dhabi Police as well as the DoT under the umbrella of 'illegal commuting combating committee' to raise awareness amongst the public on the risks of this wrongdoing on safety, security and quality of service." The stiff rules also include curbing unauthorised private transport services, particularly those using personal and rented vehicles.
An official at the Abu Dhabi Traffic and Patrols Department, requesting anonymity, said over the years the department has impounded a huge number of private vehicles, including those rented, for picking up passengers from main bus and taxi stations.
"Most of the impounded vehicles were rented cars making daily trips to Dubai and Al Ain, and making lots of money. They pay from Dh80 to Dh120 for a rented car for a day and make several long-routed trips and earn more than Dh500," the official said.
He also said, the illegal transport providers keep their vehicles away from the sights of traffic police and hunt for potential passengers at these stations.
DoT and TransAD said they will roll out several initiatives aimed at optimising mini and medium bus services including public buses and private ones used for tourism, labour and employee transportation whilst combating any illegally-provided transportation services.
"A new online system to renew bus and driver licences will be unveiled in the last quarter of this year. Besides, the DoT is preparing to launch integrated legislations to regulate mini and medium bus services, which will compliment rules issued by the department in this regard with legal actions against any entity/person who breaches those regulations," said Al Hashimi.
He further added commuting people via unauthorised or illegally-licenced vehicles pose various challenges for the public and other road users such as low standards of safety, security and quality, unorganised pick up and drop off commuters. He also said in some cases people are transported along with goods, obstructing traffic in pickup areas and sometimes buses stop in non-allowed locations and areas.
"The DoT has undertaken several initiatives to facilitate and expedite the process of allowing companies and individuals to get new bus service licences or renewing the existing ones, such as the online system offering those companies the advantage of adding transport service to their profile". "I would like to call upon the public to inform us of any illegal commuting case by unlicenced vehicles or drivers owing to its potential risks, especially on safety and security," Al Hosani advised.
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