Gov’t to consider offering subsidies to public transport drivers

(Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN — Drivers of taxis, both yellow and white cabs, and for ride-share applications are yet to react to Saturday’s government decision to subsidize them. اضافة اعلان

Owners and drivers of public transport vehicles have been complaining about poor working conditions, stressing that they lack government support.

President of the Independent Union of Public Drivers Suleiman Al-Siryani told Jordan News that there has been no official recognition of the rights of drivers of public vehicles.

He added that the union demands that the sector be organized and provided fuel subsidies, of which drivers should benefit directly.

Siryani stressed that the union did not ask for an increase in public transport fares due to the already high costs incurred by citizens, and pointed out that the ride-share sector is part of the public transport sector and yet vehicles that operate through such applications and the yellow taxi vehicles were not included in pledges provided by the Land Transport Regulatory Commission (LTRC).

“There are certain entities that say we are demanding that fares be raised, but that is untrue. Today, the government does not recognize drivers as workers and treats them as employers,” Siryani said.

He added that those drivers are working between 14 to 17 hours a day to meet their financial obligations including the cost of insurance and fuel.

“We asked the authorities to support this sector. We need support of at least JD5 per day per driver. Since 2018, the cost of the fare has not changed, while fuel prices continue to rise,” taxi driver Rami Emran said.

He stressed that the LTRC had promised to offer a JD1 to JD2 daily subsidy, “but this amount is not sufficient at all”.

Emran added that public transport drivers have to bear the high cost of fuel, in addition to the burden imposed on them by the competition from ride-share applications whose drivers use electric cars.

“But we, the owners of taxis, are prevented from using hatchbacks or electric cars,” he added.

Most of these apps are unlicensed, he said, adding that the number of public transport drivers in Jordan stands at between 35,000 to 40,000.

“I am a taxi owner and I am most concerned that we do not have an official union representing us, at a time when this sector has many problems, Khalil Ibrahim told Jordan News.

LTRC Director General Tariq Habashneh said on Saturday that the authority’s board of directors approved a direct government support mechanism for public transport modes and submitted it to the Cabinet.

Habashneh confirmed that “yellow taxi and shuttle (service) drivers are included in the direct government support for public transportation”.

The government’s latest intervention was taken to counter the repercussions of high fuel prices affecting the transport sector in its various forms, and to reduce the burden of operating costs incurred by drivers.

He was quoted by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, as saying that “the value of the subsidy is commensurate with the operational costs of each type of public transport, and it will be announced as soon as it is approved by the Council of Ministers”.

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