One of the most important addition to the new Taxi Driving Regulation is that it mandates all taxis be equipped with a camera on the dashboard. The dash-cam has to be turned on at all times when the drivers are providing service, and all recorded data has to be stored for at least seven days. The never-before done practice in Maldives is welcomed by taxi drivers, who believe this step is now necessary with the current state of affairs.
The high crime rate in Maldives coupled with the serious allegations taxi drivers often receive, means that the new regulation would be beneficial to both parties. Taxi drivers often face violent encounters with passengers, with one incident causing the death of a driver as well. Taking all these circumstances into consideration, taxi drivers welcome the government's decision.
Ibrahim Nizar, a taxi driver speaking to Mihaaru news, said that installing dash-cams in taxis is important to ensure the safety of both drivers and passengers.
"Lots of [taxi] cars have dash-cams installed now even. When this is mandated, police could look at the footage and take necessary action when an incident occurs," he said speaking to Mihaaru news.
"Installing cameras are good. However this has to be implemented on private hires as well. You could make a regulation. However, Transport Authority doesn't check if it is followed through," Nizam said.
Even though this is a new practice in Maldives, other countries have installed dash-cams that allow for recordings inside cars.
Minister of State for Transport Shimaz Ali said that it was mandatory to install cameras in taxis to ensure the safety of those seeking taxi services.
He said it would allow to carry out investigations into cases when they receive reports of harassment or other serious crimes that takes place in taxis.
Ahmed Habeeb, another taxi driver, also did not object to installing cameras in taxis as he believes it is important that there is a way to know how an incident happened inside a taxi when such issues arise.
Habeeb noted that passengers often talk about their private affairs inside taxis, and so that the installation of dash-cams may lead to an invasion of privacy. However, he does not believe that it is significant enough to halt the installation of dash-cams
"Taxis are used to commute between locations safely. As long that is achievable, there is no need for further discussion," Habeeb said.
Nazim said that even if false allegations are made against drivers, they will be able to find out the truth of the matter if the cameras are installed.
The newer car models these days have cameras installed . However, most of them record the road, rather than inside of the car.
Most taxi drivers are currently working to install a camera that can record both inside and outside the car as well. A good quality camera can be brought in at USD 100. Therefore, taxi drivers said that this is not difficult to do within six months. Many drivers believe that it will be an important step towards the safety of drivers, passengers and the community as a whole, reducing crime. A lot of taxi drivers have expressed they were satisfied with the new decision.