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10 July, 2006

Cabbies from Planet Zen

Meditation and deep-breathing lessons for taxi drivers, all well and good. It's nice to see that National Taxi is concerned about its cabbies' well-being:

The International Association for Human Values (IAHV), a Dubai-based voluntary organisation, has been called in to train National Taxi drivers in anti-stress techniques. “Taxi drivers spend most of their time behind the wheel and are the most stressed out,” said Prabhakar Rao of IAHV. “Our research shows that major causes for accidents are speed, distraction and tailgating, all of which originate from stress.”

But wouldn't tackling the root of the stress perhaps be more effective? When drivers are working 18-hour-days and scraping by on around Dh1,300 a month in a gridlocked city where taxis are metered by distance not time, zen-like tranquility is hardly going to result from a bit of yoga and crystal jangling.

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20 Comments:

Blogger inmotion said...

I left my office at 8 today and was there at 8:30 this morning.

Whose setting me up with a yoga session?

No one.

10 July, 2006 01:53  
Blogger redstar said...

Meter Dubai's taxis London style - on a mix of distance and time - and you remove the most dangerous elements on Dubai's roads. Simple as that.

10 July, 2006 07:49  
Blogger A Yahya said...

Meditation and deep-breathing lessons for taxi drivers,

I do not recomend deep breathing in any UAE cab unless you pack a can of Right Guard with you.

10 July, 2006 11:07  
Anonymous owkwefue said...

off-topic
The call center employees at DIC who went on a strike as reported by 7dogs and GulpNews, need to stop whining to the local papers in the UAE.

Apparently Skycom LLCs' parent company is Advanced Communications Group in the UK. How about shooting off emails to the papers in the UK ; informing them that a company in their country is implicated/involved in unfair labor practices. Use phrases like forced labor, unpaid wages, virtual-slavery, blackmail, against the British Law.
Some one correct me but if I recall correctly the British Government, [ insert name of relevant department/ministry here ] passed a law forbidding British companies from using unfair labor practices in foreign countries.
Even if such a law does not exist an article or two in the papers there will force the parent company to make sure that its subsidiary in Dubai rectifies the situation.

Departments that you,(Sky Com employees), should contact along with major news papers.

Office of Fair Trading http://www.oft.gov.uk/default.htm

Department of Trade & Industry
http://www.dti.gov.uk/

Department of International Development
http://www.dfid.gov.uk/

Just my 2 cents.

10 July, 2006 11:22  
Anonymous owkwefue said...

Thought for the day

Out of the frying pan, in to DICe

10 July, 2006 11:26  
Anonymous termi_nader said...

sorry, secret. i sympathise with the downtrodden, but these guys make a lot more than 1300 a month. Without any exxageration, drivers of non-metered taxis in Sharjah were pulling in 7 to 8 thousand a month, by their own admittance to yours truly. Drivers of metered cabs in Dubai pull in 3 to 4 thousand if they fulfill their monthly quota, which is not difficult in Dubai (again, revealed during idle in-cab conversation with the drivers). The stress they share, is the same stress that all drivers share on the road, except that in the taxi drivers' case, they are CONSTANTLY on the road. Money is not the main stress contributor.

10 July, 2006 11:28  
Blogger DubaiTeen said...

I don't know who you spoke to, termi_nader, but whichever drivers I have spoken to seem to be very unhappy. They said they used to earn Dh. 100 per day before, but now with the jams they earn only around Dh. 50 - Dh. 70. On some bad days they earn even less. Also I've observed that before the jams started all the taxi-drivers used to be jovial, talkative and friendly. Now they're just pissed off everytime you ask them to anywhere (especially City Center... they look at you like you're Satan).

10 July, 2006 11:36  
Blogger Insipid Chagrin said...

I was just waxing eloquent to anyone within earshot about the absolute insanity, the utter debauchery of instituting breathing classes for drivers. Instead of easing off their targets to compensate for traffic, or using a fair system of pay docking and penalties as opposed to the nebulous partisanship they practice now, the powers that be have decided deep breathing is the way to go!

And to add insult to misery, they've decided to go and write up a press release about it. This is when the ludicrous takes on art form, and ridicule becomes sublime. My chagrin has just shifted a gear or three towards uninsipidity....

10 July, 2006 12:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know couple of taxi drivers who said they will make around 3000 dhs a month atleast. I know one driver from Dubai Transport who used to come and pick me up as I used to travel long distance for about a month. He said he made about 6500 dhs one month and on an average he earns about 4000 dhs. But main point for road rage is definitely stress coming out from long traffic jams and heavy penalties levied by the taxi companies incase of radar fines or minor accidents or customer reporting of bad behaviour.

10 July, 2006 15:18  
Blogger Dubai@Random said...

There is a charge for time. I'm not sure what it is, but if stuck in traffic for an hour, the charge can be more than double a quick trip between the same points. In spite of the charge for time, if the taxi is moving at speed, the charge for distance earns the driver much more per hour than the charge for time.

10 July, 2006 16:31  
Blogger Woke said...

Absolutely.

Their main problem is trying to meet targets like dubaiteen said - which is close to impossible for most because of the traffic.

10 July, 2006 17:55  
Blogger intestinal blues said...

Bloody traffic...

10 July, 2006 23:01  
Blogger MY DUBAI LIFE said...

Its really very simple....don't believe anything being said. These drivers know exactly what they were getting into.

10 July, 2006 23:01  
Blogger Moona said...

i would lessen the working hours

11 July, 2006 09:50  
Blogger Jin said...

I use taxis most of the time & as yet, think I've come across one in the past 12mths who has been friendly & inquisitive. The rest are as miserable as sin, but then wouldn't you be if you had to work 15-18hrs a day? I wonder what the situation would be like if Emiratization was enforced & all taxi drivers were local men?

11 July, 2006 12:29  
Blogger Axonsax said...

bloody good point jin - the fact remains that Dubai Transport at al are making a small fortune - the Arabs get richer and the rest get abused.

11 July, 2006 16:49  
Blogger Dubai Jazz said...

Then what do you think is a 'fair' salary for a taxi driver?

11 July, 2006 23:27  
Blogger O said...

Also a major reason why the cabbies have such a miserable attitude is the long queues infront of malls and hotels. They get furious and might be offensive if it turns out that the passenger's trip is not long enough. Was asked rudely by taxi drivers in the past to get out of the car

12 July, 2006 09:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohhh, they hate that. And then they start driving like absolute nutters so they can get back to the front of the queue quicker.

12 July, 2006 15:34  
Blogger EnglishTeacher365 said...

I used to work as a part-time mini-cab driver in London, about 20 years ago, and it was the dreariest job I can imagine. Never mind the cash, the sheer stress of paying so much attention to the road was a real drain on the brain. That anybody could do it for more than 12 hours a day is beyond me - the fact they are forced to do it in the UAE [by rich locals] is a sort of mental torture/cruelty, I reckon.

13 July, 2006 01:39  

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