Taxis are about the most common means of modern transportation in all urban areas around the world. In Dubai, while there is a variety of modern means of transportation such as the tram, buses, and the metro, the taxi is a good way to get around Dubai, the breadth and length of the city and even beyond it. Let’s have a rundown on Dubai’s taxi service.
The taxi service is run mainly by Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC; a subsidiary of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA)) which franchises other transportation companies taxi operation. Apart from overseeing Dubai’s taxi service, DTC specifically operates Dubai Taxi, a taxi line.
Dubai’s taxi service is quite advanced. There are different taxis for different purposes — taxis for regular purposes, taxis primarily for ladies, and those for families. Added to the foregoing, there’s special provision for people with disabilities.
Dubai taxis are relatively comfortable. They are the fastest and most comfortable way to get around Dubai, except during rush-hour traffic jams. The taxis are metered, air-conditioned, and comparatively inexpensive.
Passengers who aren’t together aren’t allowed in one taxi; to be specific, a taxi is not allowed to pick one passenger at one point on the road and then another passenger at another point on the road. This is explicitly stated in the Dubai Taxi Agency policy.
If you’re boarding the taxi, you mustn’t eat or drink in it. Nor can you smoke in it. And you should be protective of your property as the service provider is not responsible for any loss or damage.
The bodies of all official taxis are painted cream with different roof colors according to the company that runs them. See the table below:
|S/N||Taxi Companies||Roof Colors||Phone Numbers|
|1||Arabia Taxi||Green||800 272242|
|2||Cars Taxi||Blue||800 227789|
|3||Dubai Taxi||Red||04 2080808|
|4||Metro Taxi||Orange||600 566000|
|5||National Taxi||Yellow||600 543322|
|6||Ladies Taxis (Not a company)||Pink||04 2080808|
|7||Hala Taxi (Not a company; run by DTC)||Black (Body painted white)||04 2080808|
- Ladies and Hala taxis are only categories of taxis, not companies as against the title of the column.
Dubai Taxi Fare
Basically, you are charged based on the reading of the taxi’s meter when you’ve gotten to your destination. However, for every trip, you’re charged a starting price that’s fixed depending on the context. And there are toll charges (Salik) of about AED 4 whenever you pass a toll gate in the taxi.
The payment of fare is normally done in cash, although the NOL Card and the credit card are accepted but both attract additional charges of AED 1 and AED 2 respectively. Added to the foregoing, you can also pay for your trip via coupons issued by Dubai taxi agency or by companies like Nissan showroom and others. Where the fare is higher than the value of the coupon, you can balance in cash.
A Table of Regular (& Ladies) Taxis’ Fare
|Airport and Port Rashid pickup||Roadside pickup||Reservation|
|Meter Charge (AED/km)||6 a.m. and 10 p.m||10 p.m. and 6 a.m||Meter Charge (AED/km)||6 a.m. and 10 p.m||10 p.m. and 6 a.m||Meter Charge (AED/km)|
|AED 25||AED 1.96||AED 8||AED 9||1.82 AED||AED 8||—||AED 1.82|
- During peak periods, fare’s usually AED 12. This includes family taxis and people with disabilities.
- You could request that your taxi stop at some point on your journey. With 50 Fils per minute starting from when the taxi stopped, you could take your time as you please.
- The fare of ladies taxis is the same as that of the regular taxis.
- For people with disabilities, the fare and waiting charge remain the same, except that the charge per kilometer is AED 2.02
- People with disabilities may be required to provide People Of Determination card. Dubai refers to people with disabilities as people of determination.
- Charges for Crossing the Borders of Dubai — If you plan to visit a neighboring Emirate, say Sharjah, which abuts Dubai on Dubai’s northern border, the surcharge of AED 20 will apply. This applies once your taxi crosses the border.
The family taxi is a seven-seat taxi. Any passengers can board it. Its advantages are that in some contexts it is cheaper and that a family of seven members can get to their destination in one conveyance. See the table of its fare below.
|Meter Charge (AED/km)||10 a.m. and 10 p.m||10 p.m. and 6 a.m||Meter Charge (AED/km)||6 a.m. and 10 p.m||10 p.m. and 6 a.m||Meter Charge (AED/km)||10 p.m. and 6 a.m|
|AED 1.96||AED 5||AED 5.5||1.82 AED||AED 8||AED 9||AED 1.82||—|
- During peak periods, fare’s usually AED 12. This include people with disabilities.
- Waiting fee is 50 Fils per minute.
Taxi Service for Ladies — Ladies Taxi
As you probably already know, Dubai is informed by Islam. In this way, its taxi service boasts taxis exclusive to solo female travelers. Such taxis are called Ladies Taxis and are driven by female drivers. If you mind a taxi driven by a man, a Ladies Taxi is your escape. A solo male traveler is not allowed in it, except he’s with a woman who’d lead the way. These taxis are not hardly identified as their roofs are painted pink.
If you’re a lone female traveler and you’re traveling in a regular taxi, you are advised to seat at the back seat to keep eccentricity (say, a hand deliberately resting on their thighs) at bay, except you want the otherwise.
To reiterate an important point, “Ladies Taxi” fares are the same as those of “Regular Taxi”.
The Hala Taxi is a special one, different from the regular taxi in color and in sophistication. This taxi, painted white and black, is meant to meet the satisfaction of the customer and can only be boarded by booking via the call. Of the fleet of Hala taxis, some are dedicated to women and families, just like the case of Ladies and Family Taxis.
Their features should include the Wifi service, smart meters that allow payment of fares through credit cards, Nol Card, NFC (Near Field Communication) as well as cash, and tablet PCs for passengers on the rear seats that will offer a wide range of services: navigation, weather report, current news and customer satisfaction survey.
Owned by the RTA and operated under its new Dispatcher 8 system, the Hala service charges a basic fare of about Dh6 in the day time and about Dh10 at night.
Hala Taxi booking can be done through a dedicated number: 04-2080808
Luxury Chauffeur-driven Vehicle
Do you want something better than the regular taxi service, something lofty? DTC Limousine Service would give you what you seek. With the opulent aura of theirs, they allow of enriching experience or maintain it. Working round the clock, you’re sure to travel in them at any time of day. To book the service, Dubai Hala Taxi.
How To Get A Taxi
You can get a taxi via a mobile app, the Reservation and Distribution Centre, on the road or at a taxi rank.
Via mobile application:
- Log in
- Choose the service of booking a taxi
- Enter the required information (current location and destination)
- Wait as the taxi comes to pick at the location entered.
Via the Reservation and Distribution Centre:
- Contact the Reservation and Distribution Centre on the following number: 042080808
- Request a taxi (make it known if you want a taxi besides the regular taxi)
- Wait as the taxi comes to pick at the location entered.
According to Adel Shakeri, Director of Transportation Systems Department at RTA, the average waiting time after booking a regular taxi on the phone is 14 minutes, and that of the Hala Taxi is calculated to be 12 minutes.
On the road:
Wait at the side of road for an available taxi. When one shows up, gesticulate for them to stop.
At the Taxi Rank:
Taxi ranks are spots where you can find a line of taxis ready to serve passengers. If you’re at Dubai International Airport, any Dubai Metro station or a major shopping mall, you wouldn’t be hard put to get a taxi as taxi ranks are available outside them. Further, there are over 50 official taxi ranks around the city.
Where there is no taxi in a rank, you could call one of the numbers listed on the sign (the same numbers as those on the table of taxi companies and their colors above). Alternatively, you could send an SMS to 4774 (only from an Etisalat phone number). The SMS should be the unique code peculiar to that given rank — and it’s listed on the sign.
There are normally queues at the ranks. Join the queue and be shown a taxi. You shouldn’t be waiting long as the allocation of passengers to cabs is orderly and efficient.
Getting to Your Destination
Most taxi drivers are expats from South Asia and so may not be very good at English. However, destinations are generally not given via a street address but by mentioning the nearest landmark (eg a hotel, mall, roundabout or major building). If you’re going to a private residence, your host could help in giving the driver directions by virtue of the phone.
Drivers new to the streets of Dubai may have difficulty finding their way around. If they don’t use a navigational system, Google Maps, RTA Smart Drive or some other web-based map app, you could use the one on your high-end phone, if you have one, to help them find your destination.
How to Calculate Your Fare
You can actually determine your fare before hitting the roads of Dubia. To do this, calculate the distance you’d be spanning (i.e. the distance between where you are and your destination, say, from the airport to a given hotel) with Google Maps or Apple Maps. After this is done, use this calculator to calculate the fare, although your calculation might be defied by the actual fare. How is that? There could be delay on the road consequent upon traffic jam. If this happens the taxi’s meter continues ticking, the waiting notwithstanding. Although, cases whereby fares get doubled is rare.
Dubai Transportation Apps
1. RTA Smart Drive
The RTA Smart Drive lets you navigate through Dubai with relative ease. This on-board route planning and exploration app operates without mobile Internet connection. Impressive, right! RTA Smart Drive App provides turn-by-turn voice and visual instruction, automatic re-routing and speed limit alerts while displaying points of interest along the drive. Download below:
2. RTA Dubai App
This award winning app is designed to support roads and public transport users. Download below:
3. Public Transport
This app enables users to save time with things pertaining to the Nol Card. Specially designed for NOL cards, its features include NOL card top-up, balance check, and transaction history. Download Below:
This journey planner app is an efficient, real-time map that uses GPS-based location tools. App features allow users to view routes, stops, major landmarks and departures, and help plan journeys using metro, buses and marine transport routes.
There’re other transportation apps by the RTA not listed here, particularly because of relevance.
The Address of Dubai Taxi Corporation:
First Floor, Main Building
Amman Street Al – Muhaisnah Area- Dubai
Conclusion – Precaution
With the foregoing information, understanding Dubai’s taxi transportation system is sorted. If you’re used to Uber’s transportation service and you’d prefer it, you might consider opting for it as Uber operates in Dubai. Although, Uber’s transportation service in Dubai has been said to be more expensive than that of Dubai’s taxis. At this point, a precautionary note is necessary. If a driver tries to swindle you, threaten to report them with the number of the taxi to the DTC.
You should beware of illegal taxi drivers. You might see a friendly smiling face nudging you that they convey you to your destination, but you should refuse. Why should anyone defy the policy to convey you? If they can defy the policy, they can also carry out other forms of defiance which you wouldn’t want to be dragged into. It has been mentioned earlier on that the city’s taxi service is operated by Dubai Taxi Corporation and other well-known franchised companies. In this way, Dubai’s taxi transportation service is not a free-for-all thing.
If you’re unsure of how to identify an official taxi, remember what was said about the color of Dubai’s official taxis. This is under the heading, Dubai Taxi, above. Salam!