Taxi drivers, GAM search for compromise to promised subsidy

(File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Three months after a government pledge to disburse a transportation subsidy for yellow and white taxi cab drivers, the matter remains hanging, said an official with the Syndicate of Owners of Taxi Offices, Internal and External Travel, and Driving Training Centers.اضافة اعلان

The syndicate’s Vice President Mohammad Al-Hadid said the subsidy for taxis in the capital Amman is the responsibility of the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM), “which announced that it does not currently have sufficient funds to disburse the money”.

Hadid said that the government made several suggestions to help the taxi drivers, such as raising transportation fares. But he maintained that the suggestion was “rejected because would further burden the pockets of Jordanians, and may lead to a public reluctance to ride taxis”, he said.

Another option suggested by the government was to exempt taxis from paying the GAM’s annual taxi-licensing fee, which averages JD200. “This suggestion was rejected by the syndicate too, since the fees are paid by the owner of the taxi, not the driver,” he said.

“As we know, the taxi driver is the one who bears the brunt of the raising fuel derivatives, and other financial obligations, therefore the driver is the one who actually need the support the most,” he pointed out.

Hadid noted that some companies, especially those who buy the taxi and hire a driver to operate it it as an investment, are excluded from the subsidy.

Taxi syndicate President Ahmad Abu Haider said that his office came up with a solution that might satisfy the government. The idea is to “postpone the subsidy till the beginning of next year, provided that the drivers are paid” a subsidy in the meantime.

GAM spokesperson Nasser Rahamneh told Jordan News that the municipality and the government are working together to solve the issue “as soon as possible, and that the solution will be announced soon”.

Ali, 55, a taxi driver and father of four children and a military retiree, said the financial conditions of taxi drivers has taken a sharp turn to the worse. “The current circumstances are worse than ever,” he said, pointing to rise in oil derivatives.

“We are hardly making a piaster,” he told Jordan News.

“With the daily fees to the owner of the taxi and fuel expenses, what is left for us is trivial. Sadly this profession is going to be ruined unless there is a serious action taken by the government,” he noted.

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