Taxi

If you don’t have a car, taxis are still the most common way of getting around. There are nearly 7,000 metered taxis in Dubai with a fixed fare structure. The cars are beige with different coloured roofs. A fleet of ‘ladies taxis’ with pink roofs have female drivers and are meant for women or family groups only; In-Safe Hands caters to women, children, students, families and people with special needs; and there is a luxury VIP taxi fleet.

Booking a taxi
Taxis can be flagged down by the side of the road or you can call 04 208 0808. If you make a booking, you will pay a slightly higher starting fare. The Dubai Taxi automated phone system stores your address after the first time you call. Each subsequent time you ring from that number, listen to the prompts, hit 1, and a taxi will be dispatched automatically, (or hit 2, then enter a later time using the phone’s keypad). Unfortunately, the dispatch centre rarely gives waiting times, so the taxi could arrive in five minutes or 30. Waits are longer at weekends.

Taxi fares
The minimum taxi fare is Dhs.10, and the pick-up fare ranges from Dhs.3 to Dhs.7, depending on the time of day, and whether or not you ordered by phone. The starting fare inside the airport area is Dhs.20. Specialist services charge higher rates. Taxis are no longer exempt from Salik tolls, and crossing the border into Sharjah adds another Dhs.20 to the fare. The rate for stoppage or waiting is 50 fils per minute, so don’t be surprised when the meter keeps running in standstill traffic. Taxis can be hired for six hours for Dhs.500 or for 12 hours for Dhs.800.

Unlicensed taxis
Finding a taxi in congested areas can be difficult, and in their frustration, many people are using illegal cabs. Be warned though that unlicensed taxis haven’t had to meet the same vehicle safety standards that legal cabs do. As these cabs are difficult to trace, there have also been cases where drivers have either been the victim of crimes or have perpetrated them.

Green taxis
The Dubai Taxi fleet also now includes several hybrid taxis – Toyota Camrys – that consume a third less fuel and produce a third less carbon. The fleet also has a few a few specially modified taxis for people with wheelchairs travelling from the airport and around town.

Hala taxis
The Hala Taxi fleet is the newest fleet in Dubai. You can’t flag them down as they only respond to telephone or online bookings. The cars are black or white, and equipped with wi-fi, Nol and NFC payment systems (for smartphones).

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