Dubai Airport Taxi
Most people who visit on vacation or other purposes will choose to get a taxi from the airport. Taxis are pretty affordable and they use a meter that starts at 25 dirham for a rate. Taxis are a great option for tourist transport because you can get almost anywhere. The downside is that the further you travel, the more you’ll end up paying for the transport. There are plenty of taxis that are available right outside the arrivals area.
In Terminal 1, they are located immediately on the left as you leave the terminal. On average, a trip to Dubai costs about 100 dirham. To get to the capital would cost about 300 dirham. You might experience taxi drivers trying to steer you towards the limos if you look Western or are dressed in very nice clothing. If you want to avoid paying exponentially more for your taxi service, you should politely decline and take a regular taxi instead.
Taxis are one of the easiest options for transport, and as long as you make sure to not be taken advantage of by those who think you are very wealthy, it should serve as one of the best ways to get around for tourists and business travelers.
The Airport taxi service is provided by the government-run Dubai Transport airport taxi service, where each cab is meter-run. Airport taxis are meter cabs with a pick-up charge of Dhs. 20 (US$ 5.50) and the final fare will be calculated according to the recorded distance travelled.
Dubai, unlike many modern cities, is not pedestrian friendly. Getting around the city without taxis is actually very difficult. There is little public transportation like buses and metros of other urban cities, and with the extremely hot temperatures it makes it difficult and in fact unsafe to walk around on the streets for long periods of time. Dubai however is still very accessible for local and guests alike thanks to the taxi-centric nature of the city. This is a guide to everything you need to know about taxis in Dubai: how they’re operated, how to hire one, what to expect in regards to payment, and a few other helpful tips for your journey.
There are several different operators of taxis in Dubai and they have a really neat system on organizing them: colorful roofs. If you look at the top of the roofs in taxis in Dubai, you will notice they have different colors. There are several different companies that operate taxis such as Government-licensed vehicles are cream colored on the top and operated by the Dubai Taxi Corporation. Al Arabia Taxi has green tops on their vehicles. National Taxi operates yellow-roofed vehicles and Ladies Taxi which is operated by women drivers have pink roofs.
How do you hire a taxi in Dubai?
There are several ways to hire a taxi while in Dubai. You can flag down a taxi from the street as it drives by, you can use one of the 50+ official taxi ranks throughout the city and get the first cab in the line, or you can order one online or call for a taxi to pick you up. Or, thanks to the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) agency locally, you can download the free Smart Taxi App and book a taxi based on your location. This app is probably in response to the growing popularity of ride sharing apps popping up even in Dubai.
How much is the fare?
If you’re from a large urban city like London, Paris or New York, then you may be presently surprised that the fares in Dubai are actually a bit cheaper than you’d pay at home. Thanks to the low operating cost and low fuel costs, the fares are less than expected. Taxis in Dubai don’t have set rate fees for journeys to a particular destination, instead, they use a taximeter based on distance, and that price is government regulated. The base price for taking a Dubai taxi changes depending on your location and time of day, but the price per distance (kilometer) will be the same regardless.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the base rate changes slightly for a few reasons: how you initiated the pickup of the taxi, your location, and the time of day. For example, if you flag down a taxi from the street, your starting fare will be cheaper than if you ask the hotel concierge to call you a service. If you get a taxi from the airport your base fare will be higher than if you’re jaunting around town. Lastly, Dubai breaks down their rates by two times: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and then from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
As of March 2020, the rates are as follows for these breakdowns:
Each time you go through a toll (called Salik) then a charge of 4 AED will be added to the final fare of your trip. Though the meter fare is consistent for all your trips since its government regulated, the only exception is when you go to or from the airport in which the starting fare is 25 AED and the meter fare is 1.96 AED/km versus the standard 1.82 AED/km.
How do you pay for a taxi in Dubai?
You can pay for a taxi in cash, by credit or debit card, or by Nol cards. If you are paying by card, make sure you check with the driver that the machine is operating before you accept the ride. If you’re going to pay by cash, be sure to ask the taxi driver if he or she has change. Although some will have change, many won’t have any or will have very little. Try to bring small currency to avoid an awkward situation. Tipping is common practice in Dubai and you should tip about Dhs5 or Dhs10 or round up to the nearest whole note if you can.
Are taxis safe in Dubai?
Taxis in Dubai are all regulated by the Dubai Taxi Corporation, so all taxi drivers and vehicles must follow strict guidelines and rules. They even operate taxis just for women to make them feel safer or more secure. However just like any city and transportation service, always make sure you feel comfortable. Make sure the drivers name and ID is visible, that it has an official ‘taxi’ logo, and most of all if you feel uncomfortable ask them to stop.
How do you get a taxi to and from the airport?
There is a dedicated taxi fleet operated by Dubai Taxi Corporation to get passengers to and from the airport. When you reach the airport you can follow the signs for the taxi ranks outside of each terminal. The guides there will direct you to which taxi is next in queue. Note that base fares to/from the airport are always higher. The starting fare is 25 AED with a meter fee of 1.96 AED/km.
To return to the DXB Airport, you can either call ahead for a taxi or flag one down on the road. The same base rate of 25 AED and the higher meter fee apply to return as well.
Tips for Taxis in Dubai
Not all the drivers will know where exactly you’re trying to go by a street address, especially if they’re not using a GPS tool. Often they will drop you off close to something based on things around your destination, so research other landmarks like malls, buildings etc. before you hop in.
Not all taxi drivers speak English so if that’s important to you, check with them before you hop in the vehicle. Most drivers are from Pakistan, India, Egypt, Nepal and other Asian countries, so they may know a few words of English but it’s not a guarantee.
If you’re a woman, then don’t sit in the front of the taxi, always sit in the back. It’s a very masculine and male-dominated society and this could be seen as improper. If you don’t feel comfortable in normal taxis, then definitely use the Ladies Taxi service with the pink roofs.
Dubai, although not pedestrian friendly, is very taxi-friendly. You will be able to get around no problem throughout the city with the plethora of taxi operators and options whether you’re looking for a private transfer, a ride to and from the airport, or looking for a female driver. Do you research beforehand, use your best judgement, and should have no problem getting around and exploring the incredible city of Dubai.