The dream of having metered taxis to travel around the capital is one step closer to reality as Mwasalat, Oman’s national transport company, this week revealed its new brand identity for its taxi service.
The brand identity of the new taxis is red and white, while Mwasalat also said it wanted to hire 400 drivers for the new service.
Speaking to media at the UITP Mena Seminar and Assembly, Ahmed Ali al Balushi, the chief executive of Mwasalat said: “Our next step is to contract these drivers [owners of taxis] and the service will be mostly from the airport and malls.
“We will apply the same theme on their vehicles, train them and conduct medical check-ups to see that they are medically fit to become taxi drivers,” he added.
The metered taxi service is expected to commence in the near future, although the official dates haven’t been revealed yet. But according to Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Salim al Futaisi, the Minister of Transport and Communications, the company expects services to commence after the Ministry announces its regulations on the service.
Mwasalat is also developing an application that will include a booking service to further improve the efficiency of the taxis. This will be made available towards the end of the third quarter of this year.
“Passengers can use the application for using the service and it is similar to Uber,” al Balushi stated.
The company also revealed plans to increase the frequency of its bus service across the capital. To aid the cause, Mwasalat will be purchasing 118 new buses to operate on eight new routes. “We have already tendered for 118 buses and it is in the final stages. Hopefully,
the award will take place before the end of the month or early next month,” al Balushi said, adding that the buses would arrive in the fourth quarter of this year.
“Once the new fleet arrives, we will be operating eight new routes. Also, we will enhance the frequency of bus services in existing routes,”
Mwasalat is aiming to acquire 350 new buses, in an estimated US$300 million investment, in the next three to five years, while it forecast that it would carry five million passengers this year alone with its existing fleet.
“We started with 5,000 passenger per day and today, we are carrying 12,000 passengers a day. We need to create the demand,” the Mwasalat chief was quoted as saying.
“Mwasalat is the youngest and technologically advanced bus network in the entire GCC after we introduced our new buses in 2015,” said Ken Jackson, Mwasalat’s engineering manager, in an interview with Y last week.
“We are also achieving immense engineering efficiency with our buses, which is five to 10 per cent higher than any other transport operator in the GCC,” he added.