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Karwa taxis set to accept ATM cards next year

Commuters in Qatar will soon be able to pay their Karwa taxi fares with ATM debit or credit cards, a senior official of the public transport company Mowasalat has said. 

Work is in progress to install wireless ATM card payment terminals in both Karwa and Doha Limousine Taxis to enable passengers to swipe cards to pay fares, Mowasalat Government Relations Manager Khalid Hassan Kafoud told Qatar Tribune. 

The technology will be first installed in Doha Limousine's fleet of airport taxis before it is rolled out in all Karwa taxis, Kafoud said, adding new service is likely to be launched next year.

Kafoud said that once the technology is tested successfully through pilot projects, all Karwa and Doha Limousine drivers will be trained in the use of the ATM payment system.

Mowasalat Mass Transit Fleet Manager Shihab A Shibaika said the company is currently working in cooperation with the Ministry of Transport and Communication on options to connect the ATM card terminals inside the taxi directly with banks either through general packet radio services (GPRS) or phone lines.

The idea is to allow passengers pay cab fares using an ATM card even in remote areas if mobile phone signals are available, Shibaika said.

The official said that efforts are on to coordinate with all international banks so that the wireless card terminals accept all debit and credit cards used by tourists.

"The taxi service sector is growing at a rapid pace in Qatar. This is a service that has long been needed in the country. The cashless payment technology will make taxi rides hassle-free. It will go a long way in addressing the needs of travellers who don't always have the correct currency with them to pay their fare," he said.

Talking about another initiative being taken especially for foreign tourists in Qatar, Kafoud said that Mowasalt is working to provide free wi-fi services in its fleet of Doha Limousine airport taxis.

"Foreigners need internet connectivity as soon as they come out of the airport to make full use of their smart phones. As tourists do not carry local SIMs, they find it very difficult to use internet on their smart phones. In a bid to keep them connected with Internet from the very beginning of their arrival in the country, we will be providing them with free wi-fi in our Limousine airport taxis," Kafoud said.

The free wi-fi service will start soon, he said adding that there is no move currently to provide the same service in other taxis operating under Mowasalat.

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