To be or not to be with Saudi limousine drivers
By MUHAMMAD AHMAD AL-HOSSANI | OKAZ
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
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]