Thursday, May 22, 2008

The car pooling nonsense gets worse...

Doing a quick U-turn, our beloved RTA has added more confusion to the car pooling fiasco.

On Tuesday we were told that car poolers would have to register, obtain a certificate, register their passengers' names, all had to be background checked...a surreal Monty Pythonesque procedure.

I gave the details in my last posting, below, and you'll see from the comments left that everyone but the RTA lives in the real world.

I don't read 7Days but thanks to a heads up from The Grumpy Goat I see there's a new statement from the RTA, made whilst furiously back-peddling. When you back-pedal you can't see where you're going, as is the case here.

Having gone into great detail the other day they're now saying we got it all wrong. What they said isn't what they meant at all.

I promise I'm not making this up, bizarre as it is.

The new statement says, in complete contradiction to the previous announcement:

"We do not want to discourage car pooling by slapping fines on motorists erratically. People are free to pick up their friends and relatives if they want to. They need not register with the web site which is being created for car-pooling in the coming days."

OK. So now we can car pool and we don't have to register. Great.

The statement goes on:

"Only those motorists who are intending to pick people who are not known to them (from the side of the road) should register their names on the site."

Hang on a second. Do they now mean only the driver has to register? What happened to the previous announcement that all passengers had to be named, registered and have their backgrounds checked?

It gets worse:

"Motorists will be given the certificate on the same day when they register on the site. People can show the certificate to inspectors if they stop them to ask about passengers in the car.

Help me out here.

People are free to pick up their friends and relatives and they do not have to register. But vehicles are going to be stopped by inspectors and drivers 'asked about passengers'. Drivers can explain the passengers by showing their certificate. But they DON'T HAVE A BLOODY CERTIFICATE, they didn't have to register!

Currently, RTA inspectors can issue a Dh5,000 fine to any motorist illegally carpooling. So if you're giving people a lift, you didn't register because now they say you didn't have to, but they stopped you and gave you a Dh5,000 fine anyway because you didn't have a certificate...well, you can call 800 9090 where:

...a committee...studies all such cases and cancels the fine of the motorist if they have been wrongly fined.

My brain hurts.

I have a suggestion.

The RTA should announce that all previous car pooling announcements are to be ignored. They should sit down and actually think it through. They could even ask some motorists to advise them. Then they should issue a new statement explaining whatever it is they come up with.

I have a suspicion that what they're actually trying to do is to get unlicensed, unofficial 'taxis' to register. Presumably as a prelude to taxing them charging them a fee. How they got themselves into this farcical situation about car pooling is way beyond me.

The new announcement is in 7Days.


Peripatetic Engineer said...

Its a government operation run by people who couldn't get a job in industry. Need I say more.

The first impulse of a bureaucrat is to add regulation.

A Driver said...

I think I will quit thinking !!! Someone help me ...

Now, we got THEIR statement wrong ... and look at the explanation .. it proves that the guys are unable to justify and explain what THEY said ..

People can easily fool the new rule .. when caught by inspectors, passengers can easily claim that they are "friends" of driver .. in that case would they be allowed to continue their journey? or would they need to furnish a friendship proof?

What I understood is the following: If I am picking up friends/relatives/colleagues, then I do not need to register with them .. however, if I intend to run MY car as a taxi (ie randomly picking up people whom I do not know for a fee or free) then I need to register my car/name with the RTA.

A question: wouldn't that contradict most of our employment contracts of "not working for anybody else for a fee or free .. etc". And if that would not be considered as such, would people start taking time off to get some extra cash if this proved more profitable than their jobs?

Also, what happens if someone picks people and commits a crime against the passengers (harassment, theft, injury, murder .. etc). How would people complain, against who (RTA? Driver?) .. how would the passengers identify the driver? would his car get labeled? if yes, would it be considered private or public? would that affect insurance?

In short, RTA .. please get a bit realistic and do your homework

Peripatetic Engineer said...

PE Says when you find yourself in a hole, STOP DIGGING!

Keefieboy said...

Completely bloody insane. The RTA just shot itself in the foot big-time.

Mars said...

*shakes head in disbelief*

i*maginate said...

seabee, firstly they shouldn't have 'come back' with 'clarification' on the new rule...rules should be made clear from the start from any authority that is considered to be capable: no wonder the RTA is widely unpopular!

I was fuming when drafting a comment yesterday & had to stop myself from posting!

What bothers me is that Dubai brands itself as a global destination for work, life and play but the grass-roots are clearly not on a par with what is today expected of a modern, civlised, city. The 'grass roots' here is in relation to the post subject, which is in short an example of poor management and rule enforcement.

Now in specific ref. to the topic, it's quite clear to me. The rule is cleverly made to ban anybody operating an unlicensed taxi...simple as that.

I think the RTA obviously needs to hire a world-class PR company but they didn't even get that right.

alexander said...

I* - I believe the RTA uses anything up to 3 agencies and has an in-house team of 15 people working on public relations. I'm not 100% sure of those figures, but that's what I've been told. All that resource is either masking an enormous amount of insanity or contributing to the idiocy. I'm not sure which.

Isn't the car pooling thing marvellous though??? :))))