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Soaring number of domestic runners in pandemic: MTIC

Azlan Othman

There has been a mixed trend in growth in DART e-hailing services, registration of new vehicles, critical worker applications but a soaring number of applications to become domestic runners amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, said the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) yesterday.

The objective of the statistics is to assess the impact of the pandemic on services operated by the MTIC in Recovery, Transition and Early Endemic Phases in the Sultanate.

The Recovery Phase ran from October 4, 2021 to November 18, 2021, before the inception of the Transition Phase from November 19, 2021 to December 14, 2021 and Early Endemic Phase starting on December 15, 2021.

For the DART service, which was introduced in May 2018, a drastic growth of 457.95 per cent was recorded in 2019. Statistics for March 2020 to December 2021 showed an average of 7,294 passengers per month.

While there was a declining trend in the number of passengers in both the first wave in March 2020 and the second wave in August 2021, there have been signs of recovery since the declaration of the Early Endemic Phase. Meanwhile, the uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak has affected vehicle sales in the country, thus lowering the number of new vehicle registrations. Between March 2020 and January 2022, some 25,200 new vehicles were registered with the Land Transport Department, at an average enrolment rate of 1,095 per month.

In terms of vehicle brands of choice among motorists, Toyota recorded the highest number of sales at 5,028 units, followed by Suzuki at 4,515 units, KIA at 4,234, Hyundai at 2,976 and MG at 1,365.

For critical staff applications in the transport sector between the Recovery Phase and the Early Endemic Phase as of February 14, the number stood at 1,596 for 17,091 personnel.
The highest is from the air sector at 783 applications comprising 8.626 individuals.

Next is the maritime sector at 561 applications involving 5,747 personnel, and the land transport at 101 applications for 1,218 personnel.

In addition, the Meteorological Department submitted 19 applications for 193 staff and 132 applications involving 1,307 personnel in other related sectors.

The Recovery Phase recorded the most applications at 717 for 7,837 personnel, while the Transition Phase saw 349 applications for 3,507 staff, and the Early Endemic Phase thus far at 528 applications for 5,747 personnel.

As for domestic runner registration, there were 6,448 registrars between October 2, 2021 and February 15, 2022, of which 5,956 were recorded during the Recovery Phase, 238 during the Transition Phase and 254 thus far in the Early Endemic Phase.

Further breakdown revealed that the majority of applications were citizens at 5,577, followed by 296 permanent residents and 788 foreign nationals.

Meanwhile, there were 10,755 unclaimed packages, registered items and small packages handled by the Postal Services Department in 2020, and another 3,082 in 2021.

Registered objects made up the highest number of unclaimed goods, according to the statistics from the MTIC, which among the reason for abandoning the items was the request of further inspection by the authorities.