As a tourist in Dubai, using the city’s cab services can be a challenge. Though most of Dubai’s taxi drivers are courteous and honest, you may encounter a few that take advantage of the clueless tourists. These cab drivers usually pretend to get lost or take a very extended route to your destination. The alternative route usually involves a two- to ten-minute detour.

The Dubai Taxi Corporation regulates the taxis in Dubai.  They are the most comfortable and reasonably inexpensive modes of metered transport, except when it’s rush hour. It is safe for women to take a cab alone in Dubai, but if you’re a woman and you want to feel safer, you can always request a Ladies Taxi, which costs Dhs7 (flag down rate). A Ladies Taxi has a female driver and a pink colored roof.

Dubai Taxi Fares

Here are the rates for Dubai’s taxis:

  • From 6 AM to 10 PM, the flag down rate for taxis that you hail on the street is Dhs3.5
  • If you come from the airport, the flag down rate is Dhs25
  • If you call a cab from your hotel or book in advance, the flag down rate is Dhs6.50
  • From 10 PM to 6 AM, the flag down rate is Dhs4 (when you reserve the cab, it’s Dhs7.50)
  • For a larger taxi, the rate is Dhs1.6 to Dhs1.70

Getting to Point B

Most destinations in Dubai do not involve street addresses. Even if the driver does speak English, getting to your destination can still be daunting. It is always better to tell the driver a specific landmark, nearest to where you want to go. If you are heading to a residence, call your friend and then let them give the taxi driver the directions.

Trouble Spots for Taxis

Catching or hailing a cab in Dubai is easy, but there are always those tricky spots where long waits happen. Long lines for cabs are common in large shopping malls the evening during the work week, especially during the evening on Thursdays, and during the afternoon on Fridays.

Take note that there is always a shortage of cabs at Dubai Marina (The Walk, JBR), near the Deira abra stations, by the bus station in Bur Dubai, and by the Karama shopping district. Expect to have difficulty in getting cabs from 4:00 PM and 5:30 PM. This is usually the time of day when cab drivers turn over their cabs to the driver on the next shift.

Riding Tips

Below are some useful tips on riding cabs when you’re in Dubai:

  • Ask the driver if he knows the address before you get in. If he doesn’t, move on to the next taxi.
  • Never fall for the “Where are you from?” trick question. This is only meant to divert your attention from the actual travel time or distract you from anything that’s going wrong with the cab.
  • Though most of Dubai’s cab drivers are honest, there will always be those who are not. Count your change before you step out.
  • If it’s summertime in Dubai, avoid cabs with leather seats or you’ll end up drenched in sweat.
  • Taxi drivers will try to keep the taxi moving, even if you’re already at your destination. This is to prevent them from charging exact fares. If the fare is Dhs33 instead of Dhs30, there is a bigger possibility of getting a tip. If you know you’re already there, pull the handbrake at the exact fare.
  • If you stop at a fast food chain, get your taxi driver some fries and drinks, so he can eat while he waits for you.

Dubai’s cab rides can become complicated at times. Just do your homework and consider the given tips, so that you can have a pleasant trip on Dubai’s roads.