Only company taxis to pick up passengers at airports

Updated 20 October 2014

Only company taxis to pick up passengers at airports

The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has banned individual Saudi taxi drivers from operating at the Kingdom’s airports from Oct. 24 to make for a revamped airport transport system.
More than 1,500 drivers, of whom nearly 360 work at Dammam’s King Fahd International Airport (KFIA), now face unemployment in the wake of this decision.
Taxi drivers had received an official letter from the authority saying that their contracts would end after more than 11 months of verbal notice that their licenses would not be renewed.
Taxis will henceforth operate with several companies under one umbrella, which will provide a uniform standard of modern, air-conditioned vehicles and adhere to safety requirements, as well as introduce a unified dress code for drivers, according to Khalid Al-Khaibari, GACA spokesman. “The decision has been taken in a bid to organize and raise the standards of airport transport services,” read the letter.
“It will also eliminate vehicle crowding at the airport entrance since customers will now have to request taxi services at a specific counter,” he said. The decision will eventually be implemented across all of the Kingdom’s international airports, according to Al-Khaibari.
“Unifying standards will drastically improve quality of services,” he said. “Some existent taxis might be subsumed under these companies.”
An official at one international airport, who did not want to be identified, said the decision was taken after receiving countless complaints of extortion, lack of professionalism and rudeness. “This is why GACA has taken this decision,” he said.
Several drivers, many of whom have worked in the field for more than three decades, told Arab News that their income would be badly hit by the decision, which they described as unfair.
“Countless Saudi cab drivers have more than 25 years of experience on the road,” one driver said. “Some had even fallen victim to traffic accidents trying to earn a decent living for their families.”
“The decision has come down on us like a ton of bricks,” said Yasir Ali, another driver. “We have less than a week to get our lives in order.”
The drivers intend to submit complaints to Eastern Province authorities after they say GACA ignored their demands. “More than 150 expat drivers who work for the same company are still operating at the airport,” said Abdulrahman Majed, a taxi driver who has been working for the airport for a decade.


Saudi-backed electric car breaks through 500 miles range barrier

Updated 49 min 14 sec ago

Saudi-backed electric car breaks through 500 miles range barrier

  • Lucid Motors announced independent range verification of 517 miles on a single charge for its forthcoming Lucid Air all-electric sedan

 

LONDON:A Saudi-backed electric vehicle has broken through the 500 mile range barrier from a single charge.
Lucid Motors, in which Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is a major investor, on Wednesday announced independent range verification of 517 miles on a single charge for its forthcoming Lucid Air all-electric sedan.
The results confirm that the Lucid Air is the longest range electric vehicle to date, the car maker said in a statement.
So-called “range anxiety,” where drivers fear being stranded without power in their cars, is a major factor for electric vehicle manufacturers in convincing people to make the switch from traditional gasoline-fueled vehicles.
“Range and efficiency are widely recognized as the most relevant proof points by which EV technical prowess is measured,” said Lucid Motors CEO Peter Rawlinson. “A few years ago we revealed our alpha prototypes of the Lucid Air and promised over 400 miles range; a reflection of our technology at that time. In the intervening period we have achieved a series of technological breakthroughs, culminating in an unsurpassed degree of energy efficiency.”
The PIF agreed a $1 billion investment deal with Lucid Motors two years ago to develop the car at a factory in Arizona.
The production version of the Lucid Air will debut in an online event on Sept. 9, 2020. In addition to the vehicle’s final interior and exterior designs, new details about production specifications, available configurations, and pricing information will also be shared.
Customer deliveries of the Lucid Air, which will be produced at Lucid’s new factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, will begin in early 2021.