Taxi drivers: Transport Ministry’s statement contains disinformation

People drive along a road in Male' City. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Local taxi drivers have stressed that the statement released by Transport Ministry today contains a significant amount of disinformation.

One of the individuals leading the activities carried out by taxi centers and drivers, Ahmed Shamal told Sun that Ministry had issued the statement in question for the purpose of misleading the public.

“First thing is, we submitted that letter on March 5. A timeframe of five days was given on that. The seventh day is the day on which we had met the Ministry,” he had said.

Shamal reiterated the main demand proposed by the drivers was the installation of taximeters – whereas 11 additional requests were also relayed.

“There is one request which the Minister had promised immediate compliance with. That is the discontinuation of the private car queue at the airport,” he detailed.

Shamal stressed that the private car queue at the airport is yet to be discontinued.

Noting that the Ministry, in their statement, had alleged that taxi drivers had deliberately closed the road towards the highway – Shamal had strongly refuted this remark.

“All our taxis were driving in one line. The road consists of four lanes. Amidst traveling on one lane as per regulations, Police came and closed the road,” he had said.

He explained that participants of the protest had dispersed to four lanes after the Police had closed the first lane, as they believed the only way to head to Male’ City is if they had dispersed. However, Shamal said that Police had closed all four lanes following the drivers’ disbursement.

“Nothing can be done before a crime is committed on suspicions that a crime will be committed. Therefore, Police had also acted in violation of the laws that night,” he had said.

Transport Ministry released a statement this morning after staying silent for multiple days regarding the concerns raised by taxi drivers over the recent hike in fuel prices. The statement read that taxi drivers did not have the discretion to decide on prices of taxi fares and the Ministry will be taking action against those charging higher prices than what is stipulated in the regulations.