Traffic congestion looms large over Abu Dhabi, amid shortage of cabs

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Dubai, Sep 28 (UNI) An acute shortage of taxis in Abu Dhabi may worsen traffic congestion in the city, a think tank has warned.

''A shortage in taxis will simply mean more and more people will opt to buy their own cars to rid themselves of the daily suffering of finding a cab,'' said a report by the Emirates Centre for Strategic Study and Research.

The exponential rise in the number of vehicles is being predicted at a time when the emirate government has initiated measures to reduce them or at least maintain it, the report said. It says that the implications of the problem will increase as time passes and that this will be reflected in worsening gridlocks.

Statistics available with the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry put the increase in the number of new cars registered for the first time in Abu Dhabi at 380 per cent between 2002 and 2005, while the increase at the UAE level during the same period was 230 per cent.

A whopping 152,000 new cars were registered for the first time in Abu Dhabi in 2005 accounting for 43 per cent of the total number of cars registered across the country in the same year, compared with 40,000 cars registered in the city in 2002.

This makes the average annual growth in cars registered in Abu Dhabi around 95 per cent.

According to the ECSSR's report, the curve of growth in the number of cars registered in the capital is ascending steeply, especially if the number of used cars registered in the city is taken into consideration.

The report expected that implications of the shortage in cabs will unfold within six months. Residents in Abu Dhabi have complained of queues at bus stops, malls and in major streets everyday, particularly at peak hours.

Many say they are compelled to wait for taxis for a long time in the scorching summer heat and even if they come across cabs, drivers refuse to take certain routes.

Saleh Al Rashidi, general manager of the Taxi and Hire Car Regulation Centre, claimed there was no shortage of taxis in the city.

''The first batch of a new taxi fleet will hit the roads in November this year,'' he was quoted by Gulf News as saying.

UNI

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