Saudi Arabia issues law to ban hailing of taxis


Among the new guidelines that Saudi Arabia’s ministry of transportation will place into effect for taxis on Oct. 22 is a ‘no-hailing law.’

Taxi drivers will be banned from random passenger pickups at various locations, from airports and hospitals to shopping malls and offices, as well as transport stations, the Saudi-based Arab News reported on Thursday.

That means passengers who require a cab will need to call the taxi office in advance and make a booking.

The ministry announced last month that taxis were barred from ‘cruising’ the streets to pick up potential customers, and drivers who violated the regulation were slapped with about $1,300 (5,000 Saudi riyals).

Other guidelines require Saudi taxi companies to be solely owned by Saudi nationals as per the Saudization of the sector, according to Transport Minister Jabara al-Seraisry.

Taxi companies are obliged to meet municipal traffic department standards and maintain a quota of cars on their operating license, which is dependent on the size of the city and population.

The Automated Vehicle Locator system, which will be placed in each vehicle for tracking and directing purposes, will record information such as driving speed, pickup and drop-off locations and time of operation.

Drivers found violating the AVL system guidelines will be initially fined about $53 (200 riyals), with subsequent violations incurring $ 106 (400 riyal) fine and possible license cancellation.