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Marhaba Taxi mulls fare cut

 Staff Reporter

MUSCAT

Differential pared rates for Marhaba Taxi are expected soon and the company is to offer new services. These will include VIP class service, when it is officially launched in October, Marhaba Project Manager Yousuf Al Hooti told Oman Tribune.

The company will seek Ministry of Transport and Communications’ approval for different rates for on-call service, on-call night time service, and VIP service with Mercedes Benz, Audi and Lexus cars.

Currently, Marhaba offers services from hotels, Port Sultan Qaboos and on-call. The minimum fare is 3 rials for 6km, thereafter 350 baisa/km for 12km and following that 150 baisa/km.

The minimum fare from hotels was 3 rials, as the drivers often had to wait for hours before getting hired and their location close to the hotel meant that the service was available within a minute, said Al Hooti.

He said the proposed on call rates are 1.3 rials minimum and 190 baisa for every additional km. Night charges would be 1.5 rials minimum and 200 baisa for every additional km.

The VIP service would have 6 rials as minimum and 500 baisa per additional km, said Al Hooti, adding that there would be wifi service.

By the time of the October launch, all the vehicles joining the company would be painted in its blue and white colours and Al Hooti expects over 600 cars to be part of their system by 2017. By then, their call centre, through which taxis can be booked over the phone would also be operational.

The company currently manages a fleet of 560 taxis and in the past three months had been training its drivers to use the apps and 120 had been trained so far, he said.

The service had gained in popularity and 60 per cent of its customers were women and the app could be used to let a relative monitor the car’s movement. Women customers also made up 85 per cent of the monthly contracts for pick up and drop.

Al Hooti said he hoped the government would continue to support standardisation of taxi service to make it safe and reliable.