To be or not to be with Saudi limousine drivers

Published: May 15, 2010 01:45 Updated: May 15, 2010 01:47 

I feel very sympathetic for Saudi taxi drivers. They deserve to work in their 
homeland more than anybody else. I, however, sometimes feel differently, 
especially considering the way they behave with customers.

The way they treat their passengers is the thing that turns many people away 
from riding with them. It is under such circumstances that people opt to travel 
in taxis driven by expatriates. I am, nevertheless, sympathetic for Saudi taxi 
drivers who are in this line of business simply to earn a livelihood. I know 
some Saudis who have been driving taxis to support themselves and their 
families for several years. They have to pay monthly installments of up to 
SR1,500 to the taxi companies from which they lease their cars.

They struggle on a daily basis to earn enough money to meet their payments and 
also support their families. They have to compete on the Kingdom's busy roads 
with taxis driven by expatriates and private cars that double as unlicensed 
taxis, a practice that I hope the authorities will crack down on.

Nevertheless, the main issue is addressing the problem of passengers opting not 
to travel in taxis driven by Saudis. Regarding this, I would like to politely 
remind our Saudi brothers that they need to change this negative impression 
among passengers. They should consider the fact that all Saudi taxi drivers are 
being painted with the same brush on account of the negative behavior of a few.

There are also other types of complaints about Saudi drivers from women who 
travel without their male guardians. Male passengers also complain of Saudi 
taxi drivers behaving arrogantly, smoking and over-charging.

The question is whether these Saudi taxi drivers, although few in number, are 
ready to repair the damage and change the general impression that the wider 
public has of them? This would of course open up a new era for Saudi taxi 
drivers. Their lot would improve and unlicensed taxis would be minimized 

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