Oct 30, 2008

Residents slam Dh20 inter-emirate taxi charge

Dubai: Many residents say that the Dh20 minimum taxi fares is nothing but 'daylight robbery'. They said that instead of looking to strengthen alternate public transport the authorities are making it more costly to commute between Dubai and Sharjah.

Authorities in both emirates have announced their plans to increase the minimum fares of metered taxis for commuting from Sharjah to Dubai and back. The current metered taxi in Sharjah starts from Dh2.50 during day time and Dh3.30 after dark. Similarly in Dubai the current charges stand at Dh3 and the Dh3.50 after 10pm.

Many members of the public said they failed to see any logic in how the increase in the minimum taxi fares will encourage them to hire taxis. Agreeing that fare increase will serve as an incentive for them to pick up more passengers to Dubai and Sharjah, taxi drivers said they still need to battle traffic congestion on the highway.

On speaking to taxi drivers both in Sharjah and Dubai it was learnt that one of the main reasons for them to refuse passengers to Dubai and to Sharjah and on occasions within each emirate is due to the snarling traffic.

Calling it a complete waste of his time if he takes a passenger from Sharjah to Dubai K.M., a Pakistani taxi driver, said: "I am just disappointed that the companies do not take the drivers' feedback when they introduce any such rules. It takes me no less than two hours to drive a passenger to Dubai, while I can utilise the same time in making three to four trips within Sharjah."

He said the Dh20 minimum fare might hit the taxi companies in terms of revenue. "There are four franchise taxis operating in Sharjah, still the public keep complaining of lack of taxis, now with the fare increase, the demand for taxis will fall," he said.

Unable to comprehend the impending increase in minimum taxi fare Simi Chandran, a Dubai resident, said: "Taxis are not available within Dubai even if you book it well in advance. For instance last week I booked a cab for 5.30 in the evening from my office on Shaikh Zayed road. The booking was made at 3.00. I called again at 4.30 to confirm by booking. But at 5.40 when I called the call centre to enquire, they said they will make one more booking for me but there is no guarantee that I will get one. At 6.30, when I called for the third time, the agent told me none were available."

Hanif Mohammad a Dubai resident said: "For the common man the need of the hour is a good public transport system." Jassem Abdullah, an Emirati, said: "The increase in minimum taxi fare will encourage residents to buy cars or go for illegal taxis."

Biggest road safety drive launched

Dubai: A major safety campaign covering safety issues in various aspects of life, will be launched next week and will seek a bigger role by the general public in the campaign. The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is launching a major safety campaign under the slogan Haseb "take care". The ongoing campaign will highlight safety issues for motorists and users of other transportation means. In later phases, the campaign will highlight safety in fields including, roads, transportation, construction, marine, and other fields. It is not just about not speeding and wearing seatbelts, but about a variety of safety behaviours. This is the first time in the UAE that multiple safety messages will be launched under one major campaign, which states that road safety is not for a week or a month, but for life.

The first phase will focus on road safety and specifically on the seven key causes of road accidents based on accident statistics of 2007. The seven major causes of road accidents which the RTA will focus on during the first phase of the campaign include: excessive speeding, use of handheld mobile phones, fatigue, not keeping enough distances between vehicles, not wearing seatbelts, lack of lane discipline and jumping red signals. Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA, said launching this campaign is one of RTA's continuous efforts to prevent road accidents and reduce its impact on lives and properties. He pointed out that excessive speeding in considered a main or secondary reason of around 80 per cent of fatal accidents.

"The first phase of this comprehensive campaign focuses on speeding to encourage motorists to abide by speed limits. When the speed is 70km/h and is reduced by 2 per cent of the average speed, it helps in reducing fatal collisions by 10 per cent," Al Tayer said. He said the campaign has already started internally with the RTA's employees, as the RTA is keen on launching this campaign at the beginning for its employees who must be role models in spreading traffic culture in the society by abiding by the traffic laws.

Al Tayer said the Haseb "take care" campaign is about placing greater responsibility on every member of the society to act safely wherever they are and in whatever they do. The campaign is not about targeting road users, preaching safety and hoping that the road users act. "While government has the responsibility to develop and implement strategies aimed at improving road safety, it is broadly recognised that road safety is a shared responsibility. Private sector, associations and other non-government entities have a vital role to play," he said. Al Tayer said the awareness issue is also a responsibility of social organisations, media, and educationists, especially school and university teachers.

Strategy

"Our strategy includes initiatives to educate and influence children on safety, thereby inculcating good habits from younger ages. At the same time, constant reminder on safety to adults from various backgrounds will allow for a potential change in the bad habits created over the years," he said. "The RTA adopts the highest traffic safety standards in inspecting new projects during the design phases, as the newly established roads by the RTA have all the internationally approved safety standards," Al Tayer said.

Method

The RTA will use various tools to convey the awareness messages of this campaign. The awareness messages will include, statistics, pictures and slogans that communicate with the public's minds and emotions. The RTA will convey the messages through newspapers, TV channels, radio stations, internet, flyers and brochures. The information will be conveyed in various languages besides Arabic and English. "Safety campaigns raise public awareness that can help to influence the attitudes and behaviours that cause accidents. Safety campaigns also create public acceptance for safety engineering and police enforcement and give national focus for local initiatives aimed at safety behaviours," Al Tayer said. He said the total number of deaths in road accidents in 2007 was 329 deaths compared to 312 deaths in 2006. He said this means there is 21.5 deaths per every 100,000 of the population.

  • Contribute in reducing road accident fatalities and reaching to safety levels of the countries that are pioneers in road safety.
  • Enhancing the level of public and official awareness regarding safety.
  • Bringing together various road safety messages under one simple theme (Haseb/take care).
  • Keeping the campaign's theme an ongoing issue in the public's minds and getting them to say "Haseb or take care" at least 10 times per day thereby keeping awareness high.
  • Creating a need for the general public to take care at all the times.

Oct 22, 2008

Identity cards needed by end of the year

Dubai: Professional expatriates who do not obtain the new identity card by the end of the year may face a suspension in transactions and dealing with governmental and semi-governmental bodies, said a senior official at the Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA).

Darwish Ahmad Al Zarouni, Director General of EIDA, told that the authority is under discussion with relevant government bodies to consider suspending some service to professional expatriates.

"Services we are looking at suspending will include driving licence renewals and renewal of vehicle registration," said Al Zarouni.

The deadline to register for the card for professional expatriates and all nationals is December 31 2008. The authority defines professionals as holders of bachelor degrees or higher qualifications. They also include: consultants, medical doctors, engineers, journalists, teachers, IT professionals and accountants. Blue collar workers will be given until the end of 2010 to register for the card.

However, the suspension of services by next January will be applied to all UAE nationals who have not obtained identity card. Bank transactions will also be suspended for Emiratis, according to Al Zarouni.

Earlier on Tuesday, Thamer Rashed Al Qasemi, Planning Director at the authority, said in a press gathering that expatriates will face a suspension in bank transactions and all governmental services if they do not obtain the cards by the end of the year.

Penalties by banks "A circular has been sent two months ago from the UAE Central bank to banks informing them not to provide any services for Emiratis and professional expatriates who do not produce the card as identification," said Al Qasemi.

Details: Registration centres Applicants can fill in the registration form at www.emiratesid.ae and print it out to submit it at any of the 24 registration centres in the country. Customers without access to the internet can approach typing centres at the registration centres to prepare the application forms. To find out the locations and opening times of the centres and documents required visit the website or call the EIDA call centre at 600 523 432.

Only immediate family members can share villas - official

Dubai: Only immediate family members are allowed to share villas, an official from Dubai Municipality has clarified.

Dubai Municipality's Head of Building Inspection section in the buildings department, Engineer Omar Abdul Rahman, said that distant relatives such as cousins and their families will not be allowed to share villas, assuring residents that the "one family per villa" rule still applies.

"As long as the tenants are members of the same family they can live in one villa, but distant relatives cannot," he said, adding that every case is assessed individually.

Engineer Abdul Rahman, however, said that traditional joint families need not worry. Naturally growing families, he said, were permitted to live in the same villa, such as cases where a father's children were starting families in the same house.

"If it's a family made up of a grandfather and his children together with their children that is fine, but you can't bring your cousins and their families to live with you," he said.

He warned however, that any additions made to the villa, such as partitions, must be authorised by the municipality.

The new rules are part of a campaign to reduce overcrowding in villas which can pose safety or fire hazards.

The municipality has issued a 30-day grace period for families to move out, which expires this weekend. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) has been instructed to cut off utilities for violators beyond the period.

Oct 20, 2008

Buildings to get direct alarm system

Dubai: Civil Defence teams inspected more than 4,000 buildings and establishments in Dubai in August to connect them to the direct alarm system, a senior official said. Major General Rashid Thani Al Matroushi, Director of Dubai Civil Defence, said the direct alarm system has already been installed in 220 establishments and the teams are inspecting other establishments to check their preparedness to be connected to the system. He said the direct alarm system is connected to Dubai Civil Defence's Operations Room, monitors the changes related to fires and sends direct alerts about smoke, fire or fault at elevators or the firefighting and protection systems. The system also identifies the location of the fault inside the building as well as providing civil defence and maintenance companies with detailed reports about the readiness of the firefighting and combating systems. Major General Al Matroushi said the project of connecting the buildings with direct alarm system aims at protecting lives and properties by detecting the fire at its early stages.

Internet to link ministry with workers

Dubai: Residents working in the UAE can now obtain a copy of their employment contract and labour card online through a new electronic service launched by the ministry of labour at Gitex 2008 on Sunday. Netwasal, meaning to communicate in Arabic, is a free reporting service initiative which provides ministry of labour information for both employers and employees. The initiative is part of the revamping of the ministry of labour website. The service is aimed at the working population of over 3.2 million and the 260,000 companies operating in the country, according to the ministry of labour's 2007 statistics. Humaid Bin Deemas, Acting Director General at the ministry, told a press gathering at Gitex that netwasal is the first e-service which is directed at employees and not only employers and aims to establish interactive communication between the ministry and workers. "This service will help protect workers' rights as it conveys a message that the ministry is keen on preserving their rights, especially as there are a limited number of employers who refuse to give their employees their employment contract," said Bin Deemas.

Two phases
The initiative will be implemented in two phases. The first phase, which started on Sunday, will enable employees to enter the ministry of labour website (www.mol.gov.ae) and enter their labour card number after which he/she can print their employment contract. In the second phase, which is expected to come into effect next week, workers will be able to obtain a copy of their labour card even if they do not know their card number, after entering their passport number.

Oct 16, 2008

First flight sail through Emirates Terminal 3

Dubai: Emirates threw open the doors of its new Emirates Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport to its passengers, in a phased operation that commenced earlier on Tuesday.

The first Emirates flight EK843 Dubai-Doha, an Airbus A330-200 with 136 passengers, four in First, 27 in Business and 105 in Economy Class was flagged off from Gate 213, on time at 2.15 pm.

The new terminal opened with staff from Emirates Airport Services and Dnata manning every operation and service, including concierge and porter services, check-in and information counters, and all the lounges - Unaccompanied Minors, Special Services, Customer Services, Marhaba, First and Business Class - in the terminal and concourse.

Passengers effortlessly used both the traditional check-in counters and the Self Service Kiosks dotting the terminal. The baggage system at check-in, including the kiosks that handle luggage, functioned equally smoothly.

Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group said: "Today our customers tasted the fruit of years of planning, investments and commitment. While we were quite confident of the robust systems and facilities, today was still a day of reckoning and we are delighted that our operations worked as planned. My warmest congratulations to all the stakeholders involved with Emirates Terminal 3, and particularly to the staff of the Emirates Group for their unflagging dedication and teamwork."

First passengers
Jamal Nasser Lootah, Executive Director for Industrial Affairs at the UAE Ministry of Economy and a Skywards Gold member was the first passenger to check in at First Class in the new terminal. He was presented with a commemorative certificate by Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline, and flowers by an Emirates cabin crew member.

Khalida Mirza, Vice Manager of A1 Properties, also a Skywards Gold member and the first passenger at Business Class check-in said: "I always prefer to fly Emirates. It has the best aircraft and the best service. It was a dream to travel from the new terminal and therefore I am here early to check-in."

Tamatsu Tamaro was the first passenger at Economy Class check-in and he enjoyed complimentary access and facilities at the well-appointed Marhaba Lounge. He said: "The facility is really big and spacious - I'm surprised and very impressed. The Marhaba service is excellent. I am happy to be Emirates' first customer at this impressive facility."

Both passengers were welcomed with special commemorative certificates and flowers from Emirates' cabin crew members.

Flights
On day one, besides flight EK843, other flights scheduled for departure from Emirates Terminal 3 include EK845 to Doha, EK857 and EK859 to Kuwait, EK839 to Bahrain, and EK817 to Riyadh.

Emirates flight EK2926 Jeddah-Dubai was the first flight to arrive at Emirates Terminal 3 and other flights scheduled to arrive on the first day include EK844 from Doha, EK212 from Houston, EK202 from New York, EK840 from Bahrain, EK858 from Kuwait, EK262 from Sao Paulo and EK818 from Riyadh.

From wednesday, October 15 onwards, all the flights to and from the GCC and the Americas - 40 flights a day, around 15 per cent of the airline's total services - have started depart from and arrive at Emirates Terminal 3.

The second phase, to be launched shortly, will include flights to the rest of the Middle East and Africa, increasing operations to 99 flights every day, 37 per cent of all flights.

Flights to Europe will take-off in the third phase, escalating operations to 168 daily flights or 60 per cent of all Emirates' services.

The fourth and final phase will include flights to the Indian Subcontinent, East Asia and Australasia and bring the total to 269 flights every day.

Oct 13, 2008

Traffic Black points

No

Violation

Fine

Black Points

In Absentia/In Presence

Vehicle
confiscated/ Days

1

Driving dangerously or racing

2000

12

Both

30

2

Drving under the influence of Alcohol drugs or similar substances

Decided by Court

24

Both

60

3

Driving a vehicle without number plat

1000

24

In presence

60

4

Causing death of others

Decided by court

12

In presence

30

5

Not stopping after causing an accident that resulted in injuries

Decided by court

24

Both

60

6

Reckless Driving

2000

12

Both

30

7

Exceeding maximum speed limit by more than 60 km/h

1000

12

Both

30

8

Driving in a way that is dangerous to public

1000

12

Both

30

9

Jumping a red light

800

8

Both

15

10

Running away from a traffic policeman

800

12

Both

30

11

Dangerous overtaking by Trucks

800

24

Both

60

12

Causing a car to overturn

Decided by court

8

Both

-

13

Causing serious injuries

Decided by court

8

In presence

-

14

Exceeding maximum speed limit by not more than 60 km/h

900

6

Both

-

15

Exceeding maximum speed limit by not more than 50 km/h

800

-

Both

-

16

Overtaking on the hard shoulder

600

6

In presence

-

17

Entering road dangerously

600

6

Both

-

18

Causing moderate injury

Decided by court

6

Both

-

19

Heavy vehicle lane discipline

600

6

Both

-

20

Overtaking from a prohibited place

600

6

In presence

-

21

Causing serious damage to a vehicle

Decided by court

6

In presence

-

22

Exceeding maximum speed limit by not more than 40 km/h

700

-

Both

-

23

Parking in fire hydrant places, spaces allocated for people with special needs and ambulance parking

1000

4

Both

-

24

Exceeding maximum speed limit by not more than 30 km/h

600

-

Both

-

25

Driving against traffic

400

4

In presence

-

26

Allowing children below 10 yrs old to sit in the front seat of a vehicle

400

4

In presence

-

27

Failure to fasten seat belt while driving

400

4

In presence

-

28

Failure to leave a safe distance

400

4

In presence

-

29

Failure to follow the directions of a traffic policeman

400

4

Both

-

30

Exceeding maximum speed limit by not more than 20km/hr

500

-

Both

-

31

Entering a road without ensuring that it is clear

400

4

In presence

-

32

Exceeding permitted level of car window tinting

500

-

In presence

30

33

Not giving way to emergency police and public service vehicles or official convoys

500

4

Both

-

34

Driving a vehicle that does not comply with safety and security conditions

500

-

In presence

30

35

Failure to stop after causing and accident

500

6

Both

7

36

Driving a noisy vehicle

500

-

Both

30

37

Allowing others to drive a vehicle for which they are unlicensed

500

-

In presence

-

38

Loading a heavy vehicle in a way that may pose danger to others or to the road

500

6

Both

7

39

Overload or protruding load from a heavy vehicle without permission

500

6

Both

7

40

Driving a vehicle that causes pollution

500

-

Both

-

41

Stopping on the road for no reason

500

4

In presence

-

42

Stopping on a yellow box

500

-

Both

-

43

Not giving pedestrians way on pedestrian crossing

500

6

Both

-

44

Failure to abide by traffic signs and directions

500

-

Both

-

45

Throwing waste from vehicles onto roads

500

4

Both

-

46

Refusing to give traffic police name & address when required

500

-

In presence

47

Stopping vehicle on the left side of the road in prohibited places

500

-

Both

-

48

Stopping vehicle on pedestrian crossing

500

-

Both

-

49

Teaching driving in a training vehicle that does not bear a learning sign

500

-

Both

-

50

Teaching driving in a non –training vehicle without permission from a licensing authority

500

-

In presence

-

51

Placing marks on the road that may damage the road or block traffic

500

-

Both

-

52

Operating industrial, construction and mechanical vehicles and tractors without permission from licensing authority

500

-

In presence

7

53

Modifying vehicle’s engine without permission

400

-

In presence

-

54

Modifying vehicle’s chasses without permission

400

-

In presence

-

55

Changing vehicle’s color without permission

400

-

In presence

-

56

Exceeding maximum speed limit by not more than 10 km/hr

400

-

Both

-

57

Driving with a driving license issued by a foreign country except in permitted cases

400

-

In presence

-

58

Violating the terms of the driving license

300

-

In presence

-

59

Parking behind vehicles and blocking their movement

300

-

Both

-

60

Towing a vehicle or a boat with an unprepared vehicle

300

-

In presence

-

61

Driving a vehicle that omits gases or fumes with substances exceeding permitted rates

300

-

Both

-

62

Leaving a vehicle on the road with its engine running

300

-

Both

-

63

No lights on the back or sides of the trailer container

200

-

Both

-

64

Lights on the back or sides of the container not working

200

-

Both

-

65

Taxis which have designated pick up areas stopping in undesignated places

200

4

Both

-

66

Prohibited entry

200

4

Both

-

67

Blocking Traffic

200

-

Both

-

68

Vehicle unfit for driving

200

-

Both

7

69

Driving a light vehicle that does not comply with safety and security conditions

200

-

Both

7

70

Not lifting exhaust of trucks

200

-

Both

7

71

Not covering loads of trucks

3000

-

Both

7

72

Using vehicle for purposes other than designated

200

4

In presence

7

73

Heavy vehicle prohibited entry

200

4

Both

7

74

Violating loading or unloading regulations in parking

200

4

In presence

7

75

Carrying and transporting passengers illegally

200

4

In presence

7

76

Writing phrases or placing stickers on vehicles without permission

200

-

Both

-

77

Not taking road safety measures during vehicle breakdowns

200

-

Both

-

78

Turning at undesignated points

200

4

Both

-

79

Turning the wrong way

200

4

Both

-

80

Loading a light vehicle in a way that may pose a danger to others or to the road

200

3

Both

7

81

Overload or protruding load on light vehicles without permission

200

3

In presence

7

82

Stopping vehicle without keeping the distance specified by the law from a curve or junction

200

-

Both

-

83

Transporting passengers by vehicle undesignated for this purpose

200

4

In presence

-

84

Sudden swerve

200

4

In presence

-

85

Driving a taxi without required license

200

4

In presence

-

86

Carrying passengers in driving training vehicle

200

4

In presence

-

87

Driving a taxi with an expired warranty

200

-

In presence

-

88

Reversing dangerously

200

-

Both

-

89

Taxi refusing to carry passengers

200

4

Both

-

90

Falling or leaking load

3000

12

Both

30

91

Not securing vehicle while parked

200

-

Both

-

92

Parking in prohibited places

200

2

In presence

-

93

Parking in loading and offloading areas without need

200

-

In presence

-

94

Parking on road shoulder except in cases of emergency

200

-

In presence

-

95

Using multi-colored lights

200

-

Both

-

96

Not wearing helmet while driving motorbike

200

4

Both

-

97

Exceeding passenger limit

200

3

In presence

-

98

Driving with tires in poor condition

200

-

In presence

7

99

Driving with and expired driving license

200

3

In presence

-

100

Not renewing vehicle registration after expiry

400

-

In presence

-

101

Driving unlicensed vehicle

200

-

In presence

7

102

Violation of laws of using commercial number plates

200

-

In presence

-

103

Not fixing number plates in designated places

200

2

In presence

-

104

Driving with one number plate

200

2

In presence

-

105

Driving at nights or foggy weather without lights

200

4

In presence

-

106

Using unmatching number plates for trailer and container

200

-

Both

-

107

Not fixing reflective stickers at the back of trucks and heavy vehicles

200

-

Both

-

108

Not using indicators when changing direction or turning

200

3

In presence

-

109

Not giving way for vehicles to pass on the left

200

-

Both

-

110

Not giving way to vehicles coming from the left where required

200

-

Both

-

111

Stopping a vehicle in a way that may pose danger or block traffic

200

3

Both

-

112

Failure to have vehicle examined after carrying out major modification to engine or body

200

-

In presence

7

113

Using training vehicles outside of timings specified by licensing authority

200

-

In presence

-

114

Using training vehicles in places not designated by licensing authority

200

-

Both

-

115

Overtaking from the right

200

4

Both

-

116

Overtaking in a wrong way

200

3

In presence

-

117

Driving an unlicensed vehicle

200

-

In presence

7

118

Abuse of parking space

200

3

Both

-

119

Number plates with unclear numbers

200

3

Both

-

120

Violating tariff

200

6

Both

-

121

Light vehicle lane discipline

200

2

Both

-

122

Parking vehicles on pavement

200

3

Both

-

123

Not showing vehicle registration card when required

200

-

In presence

-

124

Not showing driving license when required

200

-

In presence

-

125

Not fixing taxi sign where required

200

-

Both

-

126

Not fixing a sign indicating licensed overload

200

3

In presence

-

127

Using interior lights for no reason while driving

100

-

In presence

-

128

Failure to abide by specified colour for taxi or training cars

200

-

In presence

-

129

Failure to display tariff of buses or taxis or not showing them when required

200

-

In presence

-

130

Broken lights

200

6

In presence

-

131

Using horn in prohibited areas

200

2

In presence

-

132

Driving below minimum speed limit

200

-

Both

-

133

Failure to keep taxis and buses clean inside and outside

200

-

In presence

-

134

Smoking inside taxis and buses

200

-

Both

-

135

Using hand-held mobile phone while driving

200

4

In presence

-

136

Not abiding by taxi drivers obligatory uniform or not keeping it in good condition

100

-

In presence

-

137

Calling on passengers in the presence of signs

100

-

Both

-

138

Not displaying truck’s load on both sides

100

-

Both

-

139

Not carrying driving license while driving

100

-

In presence

-

140

Not carrying vehicle registration card while driving

100

-

In presence

-

141

Driving without spectacles or contact lenses

100

-

In presence

-

142

Not using interior lights in buses at night

100

-

In presence

-

143

Broken indicator lights

100

2

In presence

-

144

Using horn in a disturbing way

100

2

In presence

-

145

Having no red light at the back of vehicle

100

-

Both

-

146

Opening left door of taxi

100

3

In presence

-

147

Pedestrians crossing from undesignated places (If any existed)

200

-

In presence

-