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‘This is our only source of income’
KUWAIT CITY, March 9: Owners of airport taxis are facing a difficult reality as a result of the prolonged ban on the entry of non-Kuwaitis and the imposing of institutional quarantine on citizens. The return of planes to Kuwait International Airport with very few passengers has prompted the taxi owners to raise the “white flag”, reports Al-Rai daily. The problems faced by airport taxi owners are not limited to the lack of passengers. Besides waiting for long hours without any benefit, the support and motivation by the concerned authorities are absent.
They sit for long hours waiting for a customer, and end up spending their time talking and drinking coffee or tea, with the hope of entertaining themselves, instead of boredom or frustration. While the taxi drivers are able to withstand driving long distances, they find themselves in real trouble as a result of the lack of arriving or departing passengers.
The daily met a number of them, and listened to their concerns and problems. One of the airport taxi drivers Turki Al-Otaibi said, “From early in the morning, I wait in front of the airport entrance to secure a passenger to transport at least to his home, but the closure has affected us. This is what the COVID-19 crisis has left behind. We hope that the crisis will pass, and life will return to normal. This situation is very difficult, and we need initiatives and solutions from other parties to maintain the airport taxi business, which is facing a difficult situation, especially since all employees are citizens and have families. For some of us, this is our only source of income”.
Another taxi driver Nasser Bo Bader said, “This situation is causing a big problem for us, because the planes are returning empty without passengers… there is no one, and the airport seems as though it is closed”. He demanded that the hotel reservation should include taxi reservation in support of the airport taxi owners, “instead of renting a bus in which health measures are absent.
Such a step would support us economically”. Sayel Al-Otaibi said, “Taxi owners need some kind of attention, support and motivation from the state, considering we are citizens and most of us have limited incomes”. In addition, Faihan Al-Otaibi said the concerns of the airport taxi drivers are many, and they have increased after the circumstances imposed by the COVID- 19 pandemic, despite them preserving the conditions and regulations.