Easy Taxi comes to the Kingdom, making trips hassle-free

Updated 16 March 2014

Easy Taxi comes to the Kingdom, making trips hassle-free

A major concern of every traveler to any country is transportation, particularly the taxi that will take him from the airport to his hotel or accommodation.
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.

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 19 March 2019

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.