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Sunday, 21 August 2011
DOHA: Public transport company Mowasalat has launched a fresh bid to attract private companies to operate taxis in Qatar on a franchise basis.
The company said yesterday that the renewed bid was intended to expand the taxi service in the country and open the sector to competition.
Currently the taxi service is monopolised by the state-backed Mowasalat, which operates the 2000 plus Karwa taxis.
The company had announced a similar project some time ago and had even invited tenders from interested companies. The plan was shelved as it failed to find companies that are competent enough to run the cabs conforming to the Karwa standards and requirements.
“ Mowasalat is launching a franchise system aimed to expanding the taxi services in Qatar. The Company welcomes franchisees who have a strong desire to serve the public by means of world-class transport systems. Mowasalat is creating an opportunity for the private sector to be involved in this service-oriented industry,” the company said in a statement yesterday.
The company has already placed newspaper advertisements inviting interested companies to apply for the franchise system. The bidding documents, including the Karwa Franchise Program documents will be available for interested companies from today until August 25.
Jassim Saif Al-Sulaiti, Mowasalat’s Chairman and Managing Director said the company was ready to involve others “to break the monopoly and accept competition by granting the franchise to operate a certain number of Karwa taxis.”
“ Such business partnership will be mainly for the benefit of the public who will enjoy additional service options without any compromise of the world-class quality. In Mowasalat, we will also dedicate our resources and efforts to fulfill our vision of maintaining our position as the first option in the field of provision of integrated transport solutions in the region.”
Ahmed Bu Sherbak Al Mansouri, Mowasalat’s Executive Director said,
“ Karwa franchise program has matured overtime, and is now designed to fulfill that task of creating a fair market share of the taxi business in Qatar within certain parameters or standards set forth following the popular Karwa Taxi brand”
Breaking the taxi monopoly, a franchisee will join Mowasalat’s Karwa Taxis to provide more choices and more variety in a complete line of taxi services covering more and more parts of Qatar, he added.
According to Nasser Al Khenji, director of Business Development and Strategic Planning at Mowasalat, the internal and external look and feel of the taxi service would be maintained under the franchise system including the high level of customer handling.
“The tariff and the method of printing the receipt will all remain the same even if the kind of technological gadgets or brand in the taxi may appear different with different operators,” said Al Khenji.
The company asserted that that the franchise system would promote a healthy competition and lead to an increase in frequency, presence and availability of different kinds of taxi services.
The private company that wins the bid will enjoy the advantage of operating up to 500 taxis under a renewable five-year contract with Mowasalat.
By: Alan Holden 2011-08-21
"Breaking the taxi monopoly, a franchisee will join Mowasalat’s Karwa Taxis" - So it's still Mowasalat owned, therefore still a monoply. We need a completely seperate competetive company.
"world-class transport systems" - Third world class maybe. The cars are generally falling apart through poor to no maintenance and many of the drivers lack basic manners needed when dealing with the public.
"operating up to 500 taxis" - So not really competition, just a way for mowasalat to increase the number of cars they have on the roads to a more reasonable level that has been needed for many years.
Sorry to say, but Mowasalt should really speak to the passengers and listen to their needs instead of coming up with hairbrained ideas like this, whilst the goverment should lift the monopoly and allow full competition.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
The transport company, which announced the launch of the bidding process for a franchise system last week, will accept applications from today until August 25.
21/8/11 - The Gulf Times Staff Reporter
Mowasalat welcomed the prospect of other organisations establishing taxi operations in Qatar after launching the bidding process for a franchise system.
The transport company, which announced the launch of the process last week, will accept applications from today until August 25.
“Mowasalat is launching a franchise system aimed at expanding the taxi services in the State of Qatar,” said a spokesperson, adding “the company welcomes franchisees who have a strong desire to serve the public by means of world-class transport systems.”
A successful bid will enable a company to operate up to 500 taxis on the basis of a five-year renewable contract that will include access to corporate bookings and advertising through Mowasalat’s networks.
The move will bring competition to a market which has been monopolised to date, and officials said that should improve the frequency and availability of taxi services.
Mowasalat chairman and managing director Jassim Saif al-Sulaiti said the expertise and experience gained during their work in Qatar so far would help them continue to grow in the future.
“We are ready to involve others in the success we have achieved over the previous years, to break the monopoly and to accept competition by granting the franchise to operate a certain number of Karwa taxis,” he said.
“Such business partnership will be mainly for the benefit of the public who will enjoy additional service options without any compromise of the world-class quality,” he said.
“In Mowasalat, we will dedicate our resources and efforts to fulfil our vision of maintaining our position as the first option in the field of provision of integrated transport solutions in the region.
“We will continue our approach of innovating and adopting new concepts, research and technologies with a view to providing new products and services while giving priority to environmental safety issues and adopting new and more effective values.”
Ahmed Bu Sherbak
Mowasalat executive director Ahmed Bu Sherbak al-Mansouri said the Karwa franchise programme had matured over time and was now designed to fulfil the task of creating a fair market share of the taxi business in Qatar “within certain parameters or standards set forth following the popular Karwa taxi brand”.
He said: “Breaking the monopoly, a franchisee will join Mowasalat’s Karwa fleet to provide more choices and more variety in a complete line of taxi services covering more parts of Qatar. This is truly historical to both potential franchisees and the ever-increasing customers of the taxi business.”
Business development and strategic planning director Nasser al-Khenji said the programme offered more flexibility to franchisees, enabling them to save on operational cost while helping them to maximise their day-to-day potential profitability.
“Operating a franchise-based Karwa taxi means that the internal and external look and feel of the taxi service will be maintained, including the high level of customer-handling that Mowasalat is known for and has maintained for years,” he said.
According to a tender announced this week, “Mowasalat is extending its taxi operation rights to Qatar-owned companies according to its standards and logo”
The Gulf Times Staff Reporter
Many residents have expressed their hope that Mowasalat’s decision to license additional operators would lead to an improved service with less waiting time and easier access to cabs when needed.
Transport provider Mowasalat has invited local companies to bid for taxi operating rights in Qatar, noting that any potential bidders must have the capability to organise and run a fleet of 300 taxis in the first stage of operations.
According to a tender announced this week, “Mowasalat is extending its taxi operation rights to Qatar-owned companies according to its standards and logo”.
Applicants must be Qatar-owned and they must take part in the closed bidding auction procedure to win permission to operate under Mowasalat.
Gulf Times spoke to a number of residents who said that using Karwa taxis on a regular basis had led to frustration as it seemed that the number of cabs on the roads was not sufficient to deal with the huge demand throughout the country.
Filipino expat Reynald said he was pleased to hear that more taxis may soon be on the road. “I often use Karwa taxis and it is very difficult to hail a cab from the side of the road here – there do not seem to be enough for the growing population,” he said.
“I would be very happy to see more cars on the road – it will be easier to get around,” he added.
Another expatriate who said that she often used Karwa and tried to make telephone bookings for the service, hoped an addition to the number of cabs would mean a more flexible and efficient service for customers in Qatar.
“I usually ring and book my taxi, but I have to phone the day before because they are so busy,” she said, adding “if you try and change your booking at any time, they tell you that you need to wait for hours – or sometimes until the next day even!”
Mowasalat has a monopoly on taxi operations in Qatar, providing the only service for pickup taxi cabs as well as the lowest-cost telephone car booking service.
Prices have been increased since the company was launched, but the customer base is still primarily medium and low cost workers, who rely on Karwa to provide a transport service at a cheaper rate than the other car companies throughout the county.
It remains to be seen which type of companies will be applying for the tender but it is most likely to be established car rental businesses or other automobile companies which already have a presence in Qatar.
Gulf Times spoke to a number of employees working for limousine companies, who said that they did not think their organisatons would be bidding for the tenders, and that the increase in cab numbers would not affect their business.
“It is a different kind of business between us and Karwa,” said an employee , adding: “It is no problem for us at all – we only answer calls and do not pick up anyone from the street.”
He explained that in peak months he could receive up to 75 calls a day, and expressed his confidence that this would not be affected by any number of taxis being added to Karwa’s current fleet.
However, there is no denying that people paying for a premium service because of the flexibility it offers will examine the possibility of using Karwa taxis on a more regular basis if their service can become more efficient.
“If they have a large number of new taxis on the roads, then the backlog should be eased, and it will be possible to get a taxi in a shorter space of time,” said one customer who often uses limousine services to travel around Doha.
“If that is the case, then I will definitely use Karwa more often through telephone booking, and I hope it will be easier to get a taxi from the side of the road as well,” he added.
Companies are requested to collect tender documents, with a fee of QR5,000, from Mowasalat headquarters between August 21-25. The closing date for applications is August 29.