Easy Taxi comes to the Kingdom, making trips hassle-free
Easy Taxi comes to the Kingdom, making trips hassle-free
In Saudi Arabia in particular, both expats and Saudis are wary of taxi operators in terms of safety, hygiene and even tariff.
Reports of reckless driving and foul smelling taxis have often gone viral on social media. Drivers who smoke or use their phone while driving are a common sight in all cities across the Kingdom. Not only is it illegal but the practice also puts the lives of both the driver and passenger at risk.
When asked the reason for their haste, drivers often say that there is no cause for worry as they have been driving for many years.
In the absence of fixed rates, passengers can often be seen haggling with drivers about the tariff. Sometimes, the drivers feign ignorance of the destination, thus enabling them to take a longer route and charging more.
All this will soon come to an end. Easy Taxi, which is already operating successfully in other countries around the world, launched its operations in Riyadh two months ago. Passengers can now look forward to hassle-free journeys by relying on this new technology.
“It is an application that helps you call a taxi with a single tap on your smartphone,” said the CEO of Easy Taxi, Mahmoud Fouz, in an interview during his visit to Riyadh recently.
He said that they now have 700 subscribed drivers in Riyadh alone and 30 to 40 drivers register daily.
Commenting on the functioning of Easy Taxi, Fouz said: “The app which is free of charge, confirms your location. Just tap on ‘Call Taxi’ and you are all set. It is very safe as all taxi drivers are registered and you see the taxi driver’s name and picture before he picks you up.”
Fouz added that “Easy Taxi is very convenient as you can track your taxi in real time so you know when your car is arriving. The taxis are available around the clock and if you wish to speak to the driver, just tap on his phone number.”
There are no extra charges for using Easy Taxi and the taximeter only starts running after the passenger has boarded the vehicle.
It is hassle-free journeys made possible by a mobile app, which is easy to use and helps taxi subscribers get more rides. “We connect taxi drivers directly to passengers which results in faster service,” he elaborated.
“You can order your taxi to your place. You don’t have to tell the driver your address because it appears on the smartphone of the nearest available driver in your area,” Fouz said.
Under the Easy Taxi system, all drivers have to use the smartphone with a GPS app.
“It is a very simple and effective idea,” Fouz said adding, “We make it easy for people to find a taxi and we also ensure that all our drivers and cars are registered with us. They need to fulfill certain standards so you can be sure that when you get the taxi it will be clean and the driver has been tested for safety and hygiene.
"Since the driver is on our system, we can trace him very easily in case of any problem. The system also enables the company to make sure that only good drivers are registered for the tours,” he noted.
Talking about his company’s global operation, he said that Easy Taxi was launched in Brazil last year and it was a huge success. “Because of that we have expanded our operations throughout the world and are growing very fast. “Now we have a presence in more than 80 cities in the world,” he said.
“We started our operations in the Middle East about two months ago in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. We will be launching Easy Taxi in Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain in the next three months. We are already available in the Philippines, Malaysia and many Asian countries.”
He said there is a huge market potential in this region in particular because of certain peculiarities which makes the service very special. “I think we can address these peculiarities in a good way,” he added.
The official said the taxi system in the Kingdom is not as organized as in Dubai and there is a lot that can be done to improve it.
Saudi Arabia says missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead
- The journalist died after a fistfight at the consulate in Istanbul
- Deputy intelligence chief, royal court adviser removed from positions, 18 Saudis arrested
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday the death of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying a preliminary investigation indicated he lost his life after a fight at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
“The discussions between Jamal Khashoggi and those he met at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul... devolved into a fistfight, leading to his death,” the Saudi Press Agency said, citing the public prosecutor.
Eighteen Saudis have been arrested in connection with the incident and the investigation is ongoing, the public prosecutor said.
“The Kingdom expresses its deep regret at the painful developments that have taken place and stresses the commitment of the authorities in the Kingdom to bring the facts to the public opinion, to hold all those involved accountable and bring them to justice,” a statement on the SPA said.
Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who lived in the US, disappeared on Oct. 2 after visiting the consulate to complete paperwork related to his divorce.
Deputy intelligence chief Ahmed Al-Asiri was removed from his position and Saud Al-Qahtani from his advisory role at the Royal Court, through royal decrees.
Three other intelligence officials who were also sacked have been named as Mohammad bin Saleh Al-Rumaih, Abdullah bin Khalifa Al-Shaya and Rashad bin Hamed Al-Muhamadi.
King Salman also ordered the creation of a ministerial committee, headed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to restructure the country’s General Intelligence agency and issue the results of its work within a month.
Members of the committee include the interior and foreign ministers as well as the heads of the General Intelligence and State Security.
A team of Saudi investigators were sent to Istanbul and have been working on the case with Turkish detectives, who entered the consulate on Thursday.
Earlier in the week, Saudi Arabia promised a thorough and transparent investigation into what happened to the journalist in Turkey.