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Taxis in Kuwait… A historical perspective

Taxi driver in 1960s in Kuwait

KUWAIT: Taxis have been a part of the Kuwait landscape since the late 1930s with personal vehicles, owned by well off Kuwaitis, being the precursor of the present organized profession that delivers people to their desired destinations.
Back in the day, the relation between clients and drivers was not governed by the rules and regulations of today. It was more of a mutual agreement between both parties regarding the amount of fare paid and the possibility of getting to a certain destination, which was not always guaranteed due to the lack of paved roads.

Cultural and historical author Yousef Al-Shehab said that the main use of private vehicles as taxis in the past was to get people to then distant areas such as Al-Jahra, Hawally, and Ahmadi.

There were few private cars in the past which used to be parked in Al-Safat public square, said Al-Shehab, adding that this particular arrangement constituted the old taxi service.

Regarding the type of vehicles used in driving people around, Al-Shehab said that cars ranged from small ones to large vehicles used by the British military like lorries and trucks, which were then converted for civilian use.

Moreover, the taxi service was not only bounded by destinations within the country, sometimes it went beyond, taking Kuwaitis on trips to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and other places, he added.

With the urban and infrastructure development kicking in, the taxi service has evolved and took many shapes and forms, a normal progression for a profession that has been in the country long before its independence, said the historian. – Kuna


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