Dubai is not particularly pedestrian-friendly and taxis are the best way to travel around the city if your destination/departure point is not near a Metro stop.

They are regulated by the government and should have a working meter.

Taxis are relatively cheap compared to most other major cities. Drivers are usually pretty courteous and most have reasonable English.

Taxi passing a Metro station on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai

Taxi, Sheikh Zayed Road

Taxi Fares

Fares are regulated and priced according to the reading on the meter. The minimum fare is 10 AED.

Fares for a standard taxi are shown in the table below. Rates for vans, ladies taxis, and special needs vehicles differ.

FareDay 06:00 – 22:00Night 22:00 – 06:00
Starting fare -street pickup3 AED3.5 AED
Starting fare - booked6 AED7 AED
Starting fare – from airport20 AED20 AED
Meter fare - distance1.6 AED / km1.6 AED / km
Waiting fare0.5 AED / minute0.5 AED / minute

Toll charges (Salik) of 4 AED are added to the fare each time the taxi passes through a toll gate.

Taxi Companies – Telephone Booking Numbers

Taxis are operated by the Dubai Taxi Corporation (Dubai Taxi), although the company franchises out taxi operations to other companies.

All official taxis have cream coloured bodywork. The roof colours differ by company.

CompanyRoof ColourDispatch Telephone
Arabia TaxiGreen800 272242
Cars TaxiBlue800 227789
Dubai TaxiRed04 2080808
Metro TaxiOrange600 566000
National TaxiYellow600 543322

Taxi Ranks

You will have no difficulty getting a taxi at Dubai International Airport. There are busy ranks outside each terminal. You will also find long queues of waiting taxis outside all the major shopping malls. There’s no need to book taxis at the airport or mall.

Taxi rank at the Dubai Mall

Taxi rank, Dubai Mall

In addition to the ranks noted above there are more than 50 official taxi ranks around the city. If there are no taxis waiting at one of these ranks you can call one of the numbers listed on the signage (same as the table above). Alternatively you can send an SMS to 4774 (provided you have an Etisalat telephone number). The message text should be the code for the taxi rank as listed on the sign.

There are also taxi ranks outside all Dubai Metro stations. If there are no taxis waiting call one of the numbers on the sign (same as the table above). You can also send an SMS to 4774 (Etisalat phones only). The message text should be the unique code assigned to that particular rank and listed on the sign.

The code consists of the following information:

  • R or G – Red Line or Green Line
  • Station number – see here for stations on the Red Line and here for stations on the Green Line
  • Station entrance – A or B

For example to book a taxi to Al Jafiliya Metro Station you should send the code R21A (for entrance A) or R21B (for entrance B).

Dubai Taxi Smartphone App

In June 2014 the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority introduced the RTA Smart Taxi app. The application allows users to book a taxi using their smartphone.

The system is very sophisticated allowing the user to book the nearest available taxi. The app communicates the location of the user to the driver, allowing users to book a taxi even if they don’t know where they are.

The progress of the taxi can be followed live on screen. The app also gives additional information such as the name of the driver and the estimated arrival time at the destination.

The starting fare for booking a taxi through the app is the same as that for booking a taxi by phone (6 AED in the day and 7 AED at night).

The app is available for both Android and iOS devices.

Comments and Additional Information

  1. Joanne osgerby says

    Do not use if you don’t drive and you need a taxi that will be on time to pick up your kids from school. I have only been here 6 weeks and have been late and let down time and again. The drivers are all good. The system is the problem. Complete let down. I have booked, texted and had to keep ringing to see if one is coming. Completely rubbish.

  2. Rienie says

    I use the taxis on a regular basis, and have never been taken the “long” route. When I am not using a taxi, I travel with my husband, so I know the routes. All the meters in all the taxis are working. I have never been refused a short trip.

  3. Arif says

    When I went to Dubai back in 2007, it was very easy to hail a cab. Also, being quite familiar with the city map prevented any driver from taking advantage of me and taking the long route to my destination. But I think the taxi fares in Dubai should be reduced by at least 15%. They don’t have a really good public transit system and people are left with no choice but to take taxis everywhere they go. But one thing I would surely like to see in Dubai is the speed restrictions enforced. Some of these drivers cruise at 120+ kph and that makes me very nervous. But one thing is for sure, I would love to drive at rocket speed on the desert roads, well over 150 kph if the Camry (typical taxi) could handle it.

  4. London Man says

    Dubai has good taxi system but I agree some of the drivers would lie and state the meter is not working. If that is the case just leave the taxi and get a new one.

  5. jane says

    I found every time I travelled in a Dubai taxi as a single female I was taken the long way and usually paid 50% more than when I travelled with a male.

  6. suzzie says

    I was in Dubai in January 2009. Taxis are relatively cheap but 90% of the drivers are on their mobile phones while driving you. They drive very fast and I once had a driver who combed his beard for the most part of the trip. One taxi driver picked me up from the Deira City Center and expected me to pay 10 dirham more than the meter read, lying to me that his metre was broken. But I don’t agree that taxi’s are hard to come by. I found one any time I wanted one!

  7. Editor says

    From December 2 2008 taxis will be exempt from the Salik road tolls.

  8. rudra says

    It’s very easy to watch the taxis passing by but comparatively hard to hire one. Regarding the bus, it’s either too much crowded and won’t let you in or late. i.e. if it’s a ride of about half an hour, it can take an hour and half or more because of traffic.

  9. beryl says

    It’s a shame that some drivers are rude to passengers. The worse thing is that even if you book a taxi sometimes they don’t even turn up.

  10. Big Dog says

    The standard of driving in dubai is the worst I have ever experienced, sickeningly poor, a state of affairs presumably bred by the contrast of arrogance and extreme wealth with poverty and apathy.
    It frequently took me over an hour to hail a taxi, to then sit in a jam for several more, each day. When trying to hire a car I was told that my UK driving license was inappropriate, a laughable outrage! If I return to dubai, it will be at the head of a massive armoured column that I shall run up and down the Sheikh Zayed road, crushing all those who stand in my way, Range Rovers and illegitimate taxis alike, whilst broadcasting instructional audiotapes on the principles of defensive driving at 160 decibels.

  11. gwippy says

    My experience with taxi drivers within heavy traffic: I tell him ‘its completely up to you how you make the target, but please don`t exceed my 20 (or other) minutes limit’. Most drivers shout or laugh but then they drive like a private car owner: small uncrowded streets, outlying but fast roads etc. strictly avoiding the time costing jam areas. The tour is often under the ´normal´ fee, even if I calculated with the fair drivers extra tip.

  12. Yulia says

    It is now virtually impossible to get a taxi in Deira. The traffic jams here mean that no drivers want to work here. Be prepared for a long wait!

  13. Editor says

    The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority has announced that all new taxis in Dubai will be fitted with a device to prevent them travelling at more than 120 km/h. The move comes amongst increasing concern from both residents and tourists that taxi drivers are placing lives in danger by driving too fast. An awareness campaign reminding taxi drivers of the 120 km/h speed limit has also been launched.

  14. Bernard M says

    Taxi drivers in Dubai drive too fast and tailgate. Just tell them to slow down and most will oblige.

  15. malik says

    With all the traffic jams, many taxi drivers are now refusing to take people on short trips through busy areas.

  16. cath cutler says

    It’s much cheaper to get a taxi from the airport than booking a hotel transfer beforehand (unless of course it’s free!)

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