Multicultural makeover: Abu Dhabi hires East European drivers

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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – In an attempt to reflect the UAE’s diverse society, some of the newest taxi driver recruits in the capital include people from Eastern Europe, a Centre for Regulati

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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – In an attempt to reflect the UAE’s diverse society, some of the newest taxi driver recruits in the capital include people from Eastern Europe, a Centre for Regulation for Transport by Hire Cars (TransAD) official revealed.

Additionally, security cameras currently being installed in taxis are yet another attempt at enhancing driver-passenger security, Yousuf Madani, Director of the Call Centre and Customer Service at TransAD, said.

“Previously, Pakistanis, Indians and Bangladeshi cabbies dominated the field but with the introduction of new drivers from Nepal, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, the Philippines, Nigeria, Tunis, Morocco and now 100 recruits from Eastern Europe, we hope that customers feel even more at ease using our services,” he told Gulf News.

The initiative reiterates the UAE’s multi-cultural community and enables riders to interact with people of different backgrounds and is a natural response to the positive phenomenon, the official added.

“Four TransAD members are stationed at the Ministry of Interior’s Centre for Follow-up and Control which monitors all security cameras across the emirate, including those inside our taxis. This allows our employees to issue violations to taxi drivers who, for example, refuse to stop for a passenger, or stop illegally on the side of the road,” Madani explained.

Taxis also have an emergency button that notifies the TransAD control room in the case of passengers’ refusal to pay the fare. “In some scenarios, a customer who is accustomed to paying Dh4, ends up paying Dh7 because of heavy traffic. Feeling this isn’t fair, they end up storming out and refusing to pay the driver. This unfortunately means that the money must come from the driver’s salary but with the new cameras and the help of authorities, we will hopefully be able to track down wrongdoers if needed,” Madani said.

In fact, drivers who are mistreated by a client are encouraged to file a case with the police against the customer. TransAD can then issue all the information they have about the passenger, in addition the footage recorded, provided the police issue an official request.

“We cannot just give our personal information about our drivers and passengers to anyone who may ask. This is why protocol is very important,” he added.

Meanwhile, a Driver Care center tends to matters pertaining to salaries, complaints and other taxi driver-related issues.

“If a customer makes a complaint against a driver and insists on having him or fired or punished, an investigator from TransAD looks into the problem. They are under strict instructions to abstain from looking into a driver’s history as this may create a certain bias within the investigators and prevent them from conducting their job fairly,” Madani highlighted.

A change in TransAD’s lost and found policy and the installation of cameras has helped increase by 28 per cent the rate of return of misplaced items to their rightful owners between 2013 and 2015.

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