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Mobile apps made mandatory for taxis

The Transport Authority also announced fixed rates.



The Transport Authority on Thursday made it mandatory for taxis operating in the capital and its suburbs to start using a mobile application within two months.

By October 1, taxis must use one of three approved applications: Avas Ride, PickMe and E’AEE.

Citing public complaints, the Transport Authority also announced fixed rates for the Malé region. With effect on August 7, the rate from Malé to the airport island Hulhulé via the Sinamalé bridge will be MVR60 (US$4). The same rate will apply for rides from the airport to the reclaimed island of Hulhumalé.

The rate for Malé to Hulhumalé will be MVR75. The fixed rate of MVR25 for rides within Malé City and Hulhumalé will remain unchanged.

It would also be illegal to charge extra for carrying luggage in the boot or cargo compartment.

The decisions to fix rates and make mobile apps mandatory were made after consultations with the public and taxi drivers, Transport Minister Aishath Nahula said in a statement.

The transport ministry has also decided to authorise individuals to offer private hire services in accordance with taxi rules, it added.

More than 1,100 taxis are registered to operate in the congested island of Malé.

In January, taxi drivers went on strike in protest against an aborted decision to enforce a fixed rate of MVR40 for a bridge crossing. Taxis were allowed to continue charging MVR100 as the transport ministry stopped using undercover police and penalising drivers.

The move drew criticism as the public objected to the settled price and many commuters from Hulhumalé resumed using the ferry.

The transport ministry previously planned to introduce taxi meters.