Tuesday, July 15, 2008

RTA to launch webpage for car pooling

RTA to launch webpage for car pooling
By Joy Sengupta (KHALEEJ TIMES staff reporter)15 July 2008

DUBAI — A dedicated webpage to register private car pooling service, part of the government's efforts to reduce traffic congestion, is set for launch next week, a senior Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) official told Khaleej Times recently.

The service is expected to also help eliminate the illegal taxis plying on Dubai roads, the official said on condition of anonymity.

He said: “The new car pool webpage on the RTA web site — www.rta.ae — will allow interested motorists to register themselves online after which the authority would conduct investigations about the applicants and grant them the permit.”

A decision on allowing six- and eight-seater vans to start similar car pooling services will be taken in the near future. But, currently, only light vehicles are approved to offer this service in Dubai, he said.

He clarified that family members travelling together in the same vehicle need not register for the permit.

Once the car pool service is formalised by the RTA, the motorists have the permits will not have to worry about fines and penalties.

Explaining the procedure to register, the official said, "Motorists can log on to the RTA web site and view the car pool registration page. Personal details and the details and identity of three others who will be travelling in the vehicle, who should be employed in the same organisation, should be furnished in the application form, besides the details of the vehicle, he said.

Several motorists reacted positively to the new car pooling initiative.

"Around three months back, I was in the Al Baraha area. I had given my friend a lift in my vehicle but as was fined Dh4,000 by an RTA inspector. He just issued the ticket without enquiring about or listening to my pleading. This move sounds good as people would not be fined unnecessarily. The question remains whether the RTA inspectors would listen to motorists when they are taking their family or friends on a trip?" said Pragyan Ganesh, a motorist.

"Not many people would be interested in the car pooling service. In Dubai, almost everyone has got own car and car pooling in general has not caught up with the people. The reason behind this is the lack of interaction among the people. Moreover, the RTA norm says that people wishing to register should be working in the same organisation. This is yet again a disadvantage," said Aarti Mathur Sinha, who works with ABN Amro Bank in Dubai.

“Though the RTA should be congratulated on this new initiative, it must also train its inspectors in a better way. The inspectors must give a proper chance to the motorist to explain his problem,” said Kundan Singh, who works with another bank.


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