No intention of ending price control on taxi fares: Transport Ministry

The Transport Ministry has said it had no intention of bringing an end to the price control imposed on taxi fares despite minibus services now being available in the Greater Male' Region.

In an interview with AVAS, Deputy Minister of Transport Hamad Abdul Ghani said that taxi fares are controlled in most countries around the world. The government does not want to end the price control of taxi services, but it is considering arrangements that could be beneficial for taxi drivers and taxi centers, he said.

"Discussions are underway. When it reaches the stage where the information can be shared, we will share it," Hamad said.

The Deputy Minister said the launching of minibus services in Male' would not prompt any policy changes on issuing taxi permits. Therefore, vehicles will be licensed to operate taxis within the laws, rules, and regulations as before, he said.

Some taxi drivers who spoke to AVAS said that the price of fuel in the global market has increased since March this year, which has increased expenses against income. Meanwhile, the introduction of minibus services in the city and the lack of parking space on some major roads have further reduced revenue for taxis, they said.

"We are not against minibus service. But it is a clear fact that our income would decline with the hike in fuel prices and the launching of the minibus service. So government policies should be implemented in a way that does not harm anyone's rights. The government must provide us eases through policies,” said a taxi driver who has been working in the city for 20 years.

In March this year, many taxi drivers staged a series of protests in Male' and Hulhumale' against the increase in taxi fares due to rising oil prices. Some drivers charged more than the regulated fare at the time. However, the Transport Ministry later announced new fares in July following concerns and criticisms from taxi drivers.