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Passengers, drivers await return of public transport

21 Sep 2020 By ANIRBAN RAY

With coronavirus health restrictions still in place for public transport, both passengers and taxi drivers are awaiting days when services get into full swing. 

Bus services in the sultanate are not operating while taxis are going through a bad patch with many people having concerns about boarding them.

Mahmmod al Riyami, a taxi driver in Ruwi, said his income is badly affected. 

“I operate from the Ruwi bus stand area and usually take people to and from Muttrah. In the last few months when the city was under lockdown with Muttrah being the most hit, we suffered. There was no business. Also we are not allowed to take more than three passengers now and so our income is drastically reduced.”

For people without personal cars, transport has been a grave problem. Professionals like salesmen who need to travel often find it tough to meet deadlines. The heat and the long wait for the taxis is also another factor. 

They miss buses which are considered one of the best means of local transport owing to the speed, comfort and fare.

Sadiq Khan, a Pakistani national, said, “I am yet to get my licence and it is very tough for me to go to work in Ghala from Ruwi. Before, I used to get in the bus around 8am and reach on time. But now I need to depend on cabs; they take time to fill and leave. Also I find them a bit risky.”

He said his office has agreed to provide him transport but he will have to leave early.

The number of taxis and vans on the roads has seen a drastic drop in the past months.

Salim P, an Indian expat, said, “One of the best things in Oman was that there was never a shortage of cabs at anytime of the day, but now one needs to wait for long time to get a cab mainly on main roads.”

 

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