Dubai Fountain
 

Getting Around Dubai

By Taxi

Our page Best Ways to See Dubai will help you see the touristy places in an easy and relaxed manner but we've found that by far the best way to get around Dubai, from one set point to another, is by taxi.

Dubai Taxis

Taxis are sand coloured but have a coloured top which identifies the franchise firm they're run by. Not that it really matters, (because roof colours are irrelevant when getting a taxi at the airport, hotels, malls and on streets) but in case you need to ring for one here are the various companies and contact telephone numbers. The colour relates to the colour of the taxi roof.

  • (Red roof)    Dubai Taxi Corp. 04 208 08 08
  • (Pink troof)  Ladies Taxies 04 208 08 08 (Female drivers for ladies and families of all nationalities including Special Needs (book 24 hours in advance) - they won't take unaccompanied men or groups of men)
  • (Black roof)  Hala Taxis 04 208 08 08 (Introduced by the RTA this is an exclusive dispatch service with on-board features such as free Wi-Fi, weather reports, news updates and entertainment systems).
  • (Orange roof) Metro Taxis 600 566 000 or 04 267 3222
  • (Yellow roof) National Taxis 600 543 322
  • (Green roof)  Al Arabia Taxis 800 272 242 or 04 285 51 11
  • (Blue roof)     Cars Taxis 04 269 29 00

Taxi

Taxi

Taxi

Taxi

Additionally:

(1) you can obtain the new App 'Smart Taxi' and book a taxi with the shake of your phone. The App will locate your position and send an instant message to the nearest taxi driver. It also allows you to track the taxi's movement and look for the shortest route,

(2) you can SMS the taxi rank number to 4774, or

(3) for luxury service download the Uber App and register your credit card details for perhaps the most efficient service in Dubai.

These taxis are all OK, have uniformed drivers, are generally well maintained, air-conditioned, metered, clearly identifiable and plentiful. The bulk of the taxi fleets tend to be reasonably sized Toyota Avensis or Camry type cars, or bigger, with a boot (handy in a crash?), although a number are slightly larger people carriers. We've heard that there are over 14,000 taxis in Dubai - you'll see them everywhere and they are readily available.

Dubai Taxis

Just wave an arm to attract their attention or you'll find them at taxi ranks, in popular places or just parked up at the roadside. They all have the same metering system and charge the same rates subject to a pretty low minimum fare. The meters seem to slow down if you're held up or stopped in traffic. You can see the meter at all times so you know how much it's costing you. Just make sure the meter's working - if not, get out and find another taxi. A 10% tip or rounding up to the next 5Dhs is usual if you're happy with the service. (Being happy to me would be having had a smooth, safe ride with the driver knowing your destination and the quickest route to it, not driving too close to the vehicle in front, not using his phone whilst driving, along with the cab and driver smelling fresh and clean - not too much to ask is it?) If you're not happy, don't tip.

Your first holiday in Dubai - take cold bottled water out with you!

Taxis are reasonably priced, especially if there are three or four of you taking a trip together. They're used by local expats for even the shortest of journeys. This is not surprising because it's impossible to walk very far at all in most parts of Dubai, partly because of the heat, but also because of the lack of pavements and the impossibility of crossing any major road on foot (don't even think about it - many try, and many die! Most deaths in Dubai are traffic related.).

Dubai Taxis

The starting figure on the meter is likely to be relatively low during the day (and a bit more at night), although this rises quite a bit for trips from the airport, but it's still not bad if shared between a number of passengers. If you're newly arrived in Dubai it helps to have a number of small denomination Dirham notes (5Dhs/10Dhs/20Dhs/50Dhs) for the taxi fare. It's not unknown for a taxi driver to have 'no change' from a large note!

The only downside with taxis is that it helps if you know where you're going, or have at least some landmark or major hotel in mind to aim at, or a decent and up to date and understandable map to hand - you may be unlucky and get the driver who arrived from India just yesterday and knows as much about the streets of Dubai as you do, or the one who knows too little English. There is no regular, logical and understood street address or numbering system in Dubai and, except for the major roads, hardly anyone knows the street names anyway.

Learn more about Dubai Religions

On recent visits we noticed that the meters now seem to have an inbuilt Sat-Nav facility which could be useful if it's useable, if the driver knows how to use it, if you can make the driver understand where you want to go and if it's possible to input your destination.

Where to Stay and Places to Visit and Things to Do in Dubai

Important Information

Any problems with your taxi ride, just get out and hail another taxi. If the meter isn't working, get out and hail another taxi. Also be prepared to be firm with the Asian driver - you're in charge and should let them know it (it's the way of the world in Dubai). Tell them to slow down if necessary (shout, refuse to pay them, whatever is required to feel safe), or to go another way if you think they're wrong or deliberately trying to add a few extra miles to your journey. One word it helps to know is 'Shwaye Shwaye' which means 'slower/patience'. This is your Dubai holiday - take charge!

If the taxi driver won't get off the mobile phone firmly remind them that using it whilst driving is illegal and threaten to report them to the RTA (the Road & Transportation Authority - the RTA's number is now on the side of most taxis). If they ignore you shout at them to stop the car. They'll probably put the phone down even though they may only be trying to find out where the address you've given them actually is - another reason to have a clue as to where you want to go, such as a nearby landmark or major hotel, so you can help direct them!

We've not come across them, but we're led to believe there are still a number of unofficial, unmarked private taxi's plying the streets of Dubai. Don't use them. Not only are they illegal, but you could become the victim of a scam.

Notwithstanding this, there are other quite legal, often unmarked, private hire, luxury hire and limousine hire firms offering quite legal services. Major hotels often have cars of their own that operate like in-house taxis. They'll give you a fixed price for your journey but they can be more expensive than using the regular cab parked fifty yards away.

Dubai Taxis

After three or four taxi trips to and from your hotel, you'll get used to the taxi system and the 'style' of driving. You'll then feel much more comfortable using them to go Shopping, finding Places to Visit and Things to Do and even going for that game of Golf in Dubai.

Stay hydrated - don't remember your Dubai holiday for the wrong reason!

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