Ramesh Mathew/Staff Reporter

In a development that could eventually smoothen the road ahead for Qatar's taxi operators, the regulators are finalising a series of reforms to check the surge in the number of limousine companies.
“The process to control the mushrooming of limousine companies is being fine tuned,” a senior official of Mowasalat told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the 2nd UITP Mena Public Transport for Large Events Summit & Taxi Conference yesterday.
"As of now, there is a general feeling among the public that an overwhelming majority of the limousines on Qatar’s roads are nothing but an extension of the usual taxi services. As a responsible operator, Mowasalat has understood the need of setting things in order so that there would not be any rampant misuse of limousine services," he explained.
The senior official said the reforms, that are to be implemented soon, would ensure that only qualified companies and operators would be able to run limousine services in Qatar.
According to the proposed reforms, a limousine operator should own a minimum number of vehicles and should have a matching number of drivers under his sponsorship. With these conditions imposed, a large number of small-scale operators having bare minimum number of vehicles would eventually be eased out of the scene.
At present, complaints are rampant about the fares levied by some of the so-called `limousine' operators. Moreover, the country's taxi operators, especially the four Karwa franchisees, have been constantly complaining about the style of operations of some of the `limousines'.
The taxi operators used to point out the lack of patronage the `limousines' enjoyed among the public. They also felt the new operators were being given licenses much too liberally. The induction of more `limousines' to the already saturated market too was being viewed apprehensively by the taxi operators.  
Speaking to Gulf Times, the representatives of two Karwa taxi said their companies had taken up the issue with Mowasalat and the organization seemed to have a sympathetic view of their complaints about the ‘limousines'.
"We have absolutely nothing against the companies that provide high quality limousine services as they offer a separate class of service and do not affect our business. It is the newcomers that sprout-up every second day and adhere to no standards that derail our operations," one of them added.