Been a while since i did some public transportation blogging , ha!? Don't worry .. still here, monitoring :)
In the last several months or so, we had witnessed some Kuwaiti investments in the public transportation sector, that were unfortunately rapidly hit by the global economic crisis as others. 1st was the Amman-Zarqa light railway project , that until now, not just only didn't get to see light, but is still in a “tendering mode!” , that is after the 1st investor (Pakistani – Chinese – Jordanian alliance of a constructor contractor , steel manufacturer and real estate office respectively ) was rejected after it exceeded the time limit of assuring the needed money twice. The 2nd company taking over this BOT project was a strong Kuwaiti – Spanish alliance that applied their strength in rising up the projects expenses, but also failed twice in assuring the needed money, and thus the project was withdrawn from it by the government, resulting in having a case raised up in an international court, where the government is currently paying this alliance back!
Anyway, On the other hand, the Kuwaitis came up taking a license last year for Al-Momayaz Taxi, to be a quality taxi service with high standards, availability, on demand service, and quality. Especially after the PTRC's failure and what was to be called “The beige taxi” few years back, which happened to be nothing more or less than the yellow ones, and are still roaming our streets just like the yellow cabs.
So, the crisis came, and the modifications started in Al-Momayaz tender! 1st from the time of starting (which was a couple of months late), to the number of cars to start with (the actual start was less than 50 cabs), the type of cars (From 200 Toyota Camrys and 200 Mercedes E200 to 300 Toyota Corollas and 100 Mercedes E200), until the changes in tariffs and making the Mercedes tariff start from 1 JD, though gas prices were much higher and time of contracting!
Anyway, Me personally, as a seeker for quality, didnt have any problem getting into a silver colored Corolla, just like other Corolla cabs roaming around the Jordanian streets and paying extra money just for the sake of quality, quality to be represented with several added value services starting from polite and well trained drivers, with no “sorry that's not my way” excuses, to GPS tracking for the cars, requesting cabs by phone (also assisted by the GPS tracking system to let operators choose the closest car to your location), specified tariffs regardless of the time or destination, and even electronic payment.
When things come to the ground, you can obviously find that those from Al-Momayaz Taxi care about the image, the cars are always clean and tidy from inside and outside as well as their drivers, who are well selected and are professional as well as polite ones. Momayaz Taxi are also making sure to have stationaries at several luxurious hotels and commercial centers around town. But , is that all that is needed by such a service !?
Well, when it comes to the riding experience, Al-Momayaz taxi has new kinds of taxi counters (still not as supposed to be and not up to European standards), but good enough to be clear and give you a receipt with your trip details. And you'd pay just as the counter says, with no extra amounts of money for certain areas like yellow cabs would sometimes do when you tell them you want to go to a place they don't prefer. And al-momayaz drivers accept to stop and wait for you to drop by a shop or something during the trip without any problems, much not like the yellow cab drivers. But when it comes to late night hours (after midnight mainly), several experiences showed up that we still do have the after midnight problem of not sticking to the counter even in the Al-Momayaz Taxi! Either by having the driver telling you short and to the point that this would cost you an X amount of money without running the counter, or even pretending that they forgot to run the counter or close it “By mistake” during the trip!
Now the amount of money asked by them after midnight can be even less than yellow cabs at this time of the night, and pretty equal to how much the counter would count, the only difference is that the driver would get the money for his own pocket, and not for the company's.... when asking the drivers why would they do that, they all answer the same complaining from the Kuwaiti company's administration and their low wages (which is 250 JDs plus commissions by the way). Not that much for a driver who has been driving for at least 3-4 years! And what kind of QOS would come when you give your employees such low wages! It would have been more convenient for the Kuwaitis to give more wages for their drivers than having ads on small dirty and unclear ads boards on the middle of the road!
Last but not least, when it comes to phone requesting the cab, the call center is simply rubbish! I've never, ever been answered until now by the customer service operators! It simply keeps ringing and ringing with no answer even in day time. Now the call center is divided into both, an automated taxi request (which weirdly is not always active !! as sometimes the phone just starts ringing at the operator after you hear a voice that the call is recorded for quality measurement), and a vocal one that keeps ringing with no answer as mentioned earlier. As for the automated request, the menu is kind of boring, with some nonsense questions like (press 1 to have a home taxi request or 2 for an office taxi request). And the fact that the automated request prevents you from specifying a time that is less than 30 mins ahead from your call.
Last but not least, i observed that request operators speak with the drivers regarding the requests through the phone (the tracking device is over GSM and has a phone as well), using a headset, and once i even noticed that the operator has assigned a request to the taxi i was riding with despite the taxi was occupied with my order. The driver was telling the operator that he didn't receive the request and that he is occupied already, a very meaningful conversation that showed up that the tracking system they are using is not that of a magnificent one as it didn't show the taxi was occupied for the operator, nor sent the request correctly.
Taxi Al-Momayaz is a good service to have, but it can be much more better even!