Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"RTA announces the legality of carpooling in the Emirate of Dubai"

That's what the new car pooling website tells us.

The system is all overly bureaucratic, unnecessarily so I'm sure. And car poolers have to re-register every six months. But in spite of all that it's a huge move in the right direction.

Press reports say that getting rid of illegal taxis is behind the move, the RTA sort-of tells a different story.

The ten reasons they give don't mention illegal taxis and actually make sense:

1. Reducing overall traffic congestion on the roads of Dubai
2. Reduce peak hour congestion
3. Reducing single occupancy car trips in Dubai by implementing car pooling system.
4. Promoting alternative modes of transport.
5. Improve parking in areas that are experiencing parking congestion
6. Save money by sharing the cost of driving one car.
7. Reduce number of cars in the road.
8. Reduce pollution and carbon dioxide emissions.
9. Reduces driving-related stress for participants
10. Provide social connections in the society.

Take note of No. 6. Sharing costs has been something that's been debated for a long time, many people saying it wouldn't be allowed.

The illegal taxi concern obviously is in the RTA's mind because it does pop up in the background. If you go to the FAQ section you find:

Q3. Will there be any permission issued when carpooling the family members and friends?

A. No, because this does not run counter to the rules of fighting the illegal taxi practice.

Q5. Is the permission a must when carpooling the coworkers?

A. Carpooling the coworkers does not run counter to the rules of fighting the illegal taxi practice...

So they actually answer some of the criticisms about the whole scheme, in saying that car pooling is especially for commuting to work and that permission is not needed when car pooling with family and friends.

The true test of course will be how many groups of people in cars are stopped and questioned by RTA inspectors and the way they're treated by the inspectors.

One thing I found astonishing was the survey they're running.

The question is "Do you think Dubai will benefit from car pooling?"

Amazingly to me, when I looked, 35% said 'no'.

The website is here.


Anonymous said...

I still have few concerns:

- If we share the cost isnt it like illegal taxi service.
- If one is stopped by a police or RTA officer how will it be determined that the pessengers sitting inside are relatives or other pessengers meant for car pooling or may be picked up as passengers illegally.
- Normally car pooling is not only by coworkers but also by workers working in the nearby places too, or even living at nearyby places at point of origin and point of destination is if not same then probably is on the way of the car owner, will they be fined.
- I normally ask my wife to reach any of the malls and carry on with her shopping, I finish my work and go to the mall to pick her up, she comes out by the time I am there and gets into car, if an official or police and RTA sees this will definitly fine me and simply post it to me, how will I get it cancelled and prove my innocence.

I just heard on the radio that a total of 41% thinks that this system will not benefit and I believe it wont. The non believers on a system are increasing and are as you said amazingly high in %, an indication towards the failure of a system. However this indication will not deter RTA from changing their mind and they will go ahead with this system. The public will suffer, oh its not public its expatriates who will suffer, who cares then.

Seabee said...

Zafar, the website answers your questions and seems to say you won't have a problem.

But as I said: The true test of course will be how many groups of people in cars are stopped and questioned by RTA inspectors and the way they're treated by the inspectors.

I've talked about this many times before, in relation to various problems. However well-meaning the legislation, it's the neanderthals who implement it and interact with the public who determine how it works.

Alexander said...

I do sometimes wonder why we end up picking the same topics... fools seldom differing or great minds?


Seabee said...

Surely the latter....

....but then again...

faiq said...

Question post on RTA webiste is not integrated with IP confinement means anyone can vote multiple times with same question voting is not accurate .

i have voted 10 times yes

Anonymous said...

What a load of rot. No where else in the world do they require carpoolers to register. Illegal taxis? Boohoo, so they lose some revenue... if they provided a great taxi service, then there would be no need for illegal taxis. Here if you follow the official rules you are more likely to get screwed, then if you just do what you want. So... I will continue to car pool without registration, just get some better tinting, Inshallah, I don't care.

Dubai Photo Story said...

The should infact reward people for car pooling!!!

Susan said...

I never realised how problematic illegal use of cars really was (or isn't it)! I wish they devoted as much time to solving the insanely high car-related deaths.

Anonymous said...

Here's one for you in the govenrment.

I shall continue to give lifts to friends/family/colleagues/hitchhikers -- in fact who the hell I bloody choose in my own PRIVATE car which I bought and paid for with my MONEY.

It is legal, licensed, registered and insured to carry passengers so I bloody well will. Thank you.

And I shan't tell you who, when or what for. It's none of your business.

Want to stop illegal taxis? Then emply more police patrols to catch them, and the rest of the lunatics on teh orad endangering life and limb every day.

But don't force the rest of us into your bureacratic insanity.

Rant over.

mecarpool said...

"RTA announces the legality of carpooling in the Emirate of Dubai." says the new website. They're contradicting themselves since in the past they (and the Dubai Police) have said carpooling was not illegal, it was private taxi shares that were.

Here's a carpool website for UAE residents who don't want to register with the RTA, but still legal according to the RTA FAQs.