Hulhumale taxi drivers protest introduction of MTCC ‘express’ taxis

Taxi drivers and those have applied for taxi licenses demonstrated in front of the Hulhumale Development Corporation (HDC) today.

The crowd of 25 held placards condemning the decision by HDC to allow the Maldives Transport and Contracting Company taxi’s to offer transfers from Hulhumale to the Hulhule Airport island.

The demonstration lasted for an hour and a half, before the drivers were called into a meeting with the management of HDC.

The Issue

Ahmed Riza, who has been driving a taxi in Hulhumale for the last four years, asks “Why should a company be allowed to provide transport to Hulhule, while the taxi drivers who are working here is not allowed to provide that service?”

The demonstraters main point of contention was as of last week, the MTCC has been operating vehicles from Hulhumale to the Hulhule airport, while local taxi drivers are not permitted to do so. They say this will result in a loss of income for them.

“Before they were just operating the cars with just the company name, but now they have taxi boards, and it says ‘express service’.”

Riza reasons that since Hulhumale and the Hulhule airport is connected by a causeway, taxi drivers like him should be allowed to transfer people to the airport.

“There are people here who have applied for licenses for driving taxis, but instead HDC has gone ahead and given taxi boards to a company.”

Riza says the cars, which are used for the transfers, are even providing trips internally in Hulhumale and depriving the taxi drivers of business.

“The other day I caught a car taking a sack of coconuts, and the driver said it was his personal trip.”

The fact that MTCC is using cars is another factor that Riza and his co-workers are not happy about.

A previous service provided Maldives Airport Company Limited (MACL) used buses.

Providing a service

“MTCC only provides transfers for passengers and their luggage from Hulhumale to the terminal of choice at the airport,” says Hawwa Huzeyma, Head of the Transport Department of MTCC.

She says the company does not provide taxi services internally in Hulhumale. MTCC is the company that provides transfers to the airport for Male residents, and she says they are providing that service to Hulhumale residents now.

“We were asked by Maldives Airport Company limited (MACL) to provide that service, which they had been providing before.”

The company uses both buses and cars for their express service.

Deputy Managing Director of HDC Suhail Ahmed says some concerned taxi drivers met with him a week ago.

“They were asking to be given permission to provide transfers to the airport, I told them that I will discuss it with MACL and give them an answer today.”

MACL does not provide free access to Hulhule Airport and only authorised vehicles are allowed in.

“For security reasons and because there is such high traffic at the airport MACL has restricted access to the airport and I conveyed this to the demonstrators,” he said.

At the moment 14 taxis are licensed to operate in Hulhumale, and the demonstrators have asked for an increase.

“After discussing it with them, we have agreed to that and next week we will be announcing it,” Suhail said.

The number of the increase has not been decided yet, as the taxi drivers themselves can’t decide on a number, he added.

Suhail says the HDC had to give taxi boards to MTCC vehicles, as “problems arise” if they provide transfers without the board.

“MACL has given permission for the MTCC to do the transfers as that would be easier, but we will be discussing the issue raised by the taxi drivers when the head of MACL returns to Male’ next week.”

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8 thoughts on “Hulhumale taxi drivers protest introduction of MTCC ‘express’ taxis”

  1. MTCC should first improve their present services before taking over other areas of businesses that can be handled by small operators.

    There is no argument for allowing MTCC the extra benefits because they already have the advantages that small boat and taxi drivers don't have.

    I took a taxi from the airport and it was a big hassle because they did not have the receipt book (and I did not get a receipt for my payment of MVR 150) and I waited half an hour.

    I suggest that taxi drivers start picking up people to fill the taxi for MVR 5.00 each from the bus stands and take them to the ferry terminal. This will increase their business volume, instead of waiting for that one person to give 20 rufiya for a trip. This would be an intelligent way of getting business.

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  2. no one has right to monopolize a market.
    taxi drives should be allowed to conduct their business freely and fairly. it is the passengers who would decide which serve they will opt. this is hilarious and barbaric to provide special preferences to a company in order for them to monopolise an existing market for their own interests.

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  3. Aminath,

    Even though present MTCC Transport service is poor, we must never leave MTCC service because MTCC provides a trip for 2 Rufiyaa whereas the GREEDY TAXI drivers demand 20 Rufiyaa for same trip.

    But I totally agree with the last para of your comment....the answer why I mentioned GREEDY TAXI drivers is also in your comment

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  4. Kaalhu
    The MTCC taxi from the Airport to Hulhumale is 150.00. So please - who is greedier? Where MTCC have the monopoly they squeeze.

    If more taxis can go to the Airport, we can perhaps pay a MVR 100 or less. What do you say?

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  5. For providing pathetic ferry service MTCC gets to charge all above 2 years 5 rufiya and another 8 bucks for carrying the bike, and they get to make huge profits from lease of seahouse and the other places in the ferry terminal given to them FREE...(wonder how much money that is?) Have they ever bothered to upgrade their ferries? its dirty and crowded, the curtains are dark brown if they have any..they have dust filled flowers...its so hot.. for the money cant it be cleaned...cant they have an AC?. cant they have two classes of ferries...for the current service 1 or 2 rufiya would be good. for an upgraded service 5 bucks is OK.

    About their bus...so unreliable..sometimes they claim it just runs slow so they cant make it as per schedule. sometimes they go so fast we have to hold someplace for dear life. there are no safetly precautions as far as the busses are concerned. the doors will be open when its running.

    plEASE awARD tRANSPORTation SerVICE THRU prOPER teNDer. MTCC should be outlawd

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  6. MTCC should be asked to drive electric buses. MVR 150 from airport to Hulhumale' is ridiculous.

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  7. this is bullshit regulation that only gives unwitting authorization to MTCC to conrtol transport business on the highway that links the international airport.
    A business always said to be unfair or unprognostic if there is no other parties to compete..
    i wonder what the hell is wrong with democratic government of mr.nasheed.
    former thug, the dictator gayoom used to play the same kind of ploys until his political demise by the current leader.

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