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Dubai Taxi Types and Fares

15 November 2019

The local public transport in Dubai is operated by the RTA (Roads and Transport Authority) and comprises of metro, buses, water buses and trams.

With temperatures soaring past 45 degrees Celsius in Dubai during summer, Dubai isn't an ideal pedestrian city. The five-lane highways and speed limit of 100km/hr makes it dangerous to bike around and it is almost impossible to move around on foot. But, Dubai has plenty of transport alternatives to help tourists get around and hence transportation is not a hassle at all. Among these, taxis are an easy and popular mode of transport for many.

Dubai Taxi Fares

The answer to this depends on which part of the world you are coming from. Visitors who are used to European, UK or American expectations of costs of hailing and riding in a taxi, may find Dubai more affordable.  Of course, there are cheaper places in the world to hire a taxi than Dubai, but, if you have arrived in Dubai from London, Sydney, New York or Paris, you may be in for a pleasant surprise.

When compared to western cities, taxi fares in Dubai are cheap due to low petrol and fuel prices.

For web-based fare calculator for Dubai taxis check here:  https://www.dubaitaxi.ae/en/Our-Services/Fare-Calculator

Conditions: All DTC taxis abide by the following conditions:

The Minimum taxi fare in Dubai is Dh.10.

Toll charges (Salik) of Dh.4 are added to the fare, each time, when the taxi cross a toll gate.

In case of non-operational meters, the journey is free.

According to RTA, the taxi fares in Dubai are still among the lowest in the world, compared to most other major cities.

Starting Meter Fare:

Day time taxi fare 06:00am to 10:00pm - The Starting meter charge will vary depending on the location of hiring the taxi and the timing. When hired from the Dubai International Airport area during day time (between 6am and 10pm), the starting meter charge could be Dh.20 at the Dubai International Airport area, while it could be Dh.3.00 when hired on Road/Street pickup, while if booking through Dispatch Centre, the starting meter fare would be Dh.6.00.

Night time taxi fare – 10:00pm to 6:00am - When hired in the night time (between 10.00am and 6.00am), the starting meter fare will be Dh.3.50 when hired on road, and Dh.7.00 when booking through dispatch centre.

The running meter charges is Dh.1.00 every 571 meters and an additional Dh.1.6 per kilometre.

Waiting Taxi Fare

The waiting charges begin once the taxi stops. The rate of waiting charges for taxis in Dubai are Dh.30.00 an hour, with an additional Dh.0.50 charged per minute.

Which is cheaper - Taxi or Uber?

Taxis are an easier option to zip around from one place to another. You can easily find taxis at the airport and nearby hotels. You can also book a taxi online, or call Dubai Taxi, the state-run taxi service.

Recently, ride sharing apps are much in vogue in Dubai, and have emerged as a challenge to Dubai Taxi. In Dubai, Uber and Careem  (a home-grown company that operates in 53 cities in MENA and South Asia) typically cost more than a taxi. But, the advantage is that Uber offers a flat rate, and hence, if you want to travel long distance, then Uber can also be cheaper.  Careem is less expensive than Uber for short distances, but Uber is affordable for longer distances.

Therefore, an Uber cab may be an ideal choice if you wish to travel for a fixed price for longer distance, like, Dubai to Abu Dhabi or other northern Emirates. Moreover, Uber has come up with an open and transparent policy, and so you can use their site link, and request a quote for the trip you wish to make from Dubai to another city. However, for local transport, hailing a taxi may be a better option.

Are Taxis Safe in Dubai?

The public transportation system in Dubai is mostly safe and reliable. Taxis and ride-sharing services are generally safe, for the most part. When you get into a cab, ensure that the driver’s name and identification number are posted in the back, as in case of any untoward happening, this information can be given to the police.

Make sure that you use only licensed taxis or other recognized form of public transport, and do not accept rides from strangers. Even when hailing a taxi from the airport, do not accept the requests from random men in the arrivals hall for taxis. Instead, head for the main rank.

Generally, if your travel is within city limits, the taxis are a safe option. Try to avoid travelling to city outskirts and other such nowhere locations in unholy hours. But, if you must travel in the middle of the night to some lonely place, it is better to take the pink taxi that has a female driver.

As far as women are concerned, it is generally fine for women to ride alone in a taxi, but remember to sit at the back seat and not in the front, as this might be misunderstood. It is better to be modestly dressed if you have to ride alone in a taxi. If you wish to be more cautious and be on the safer side, book a pink-roofed cab with a woman driver (also called ‘Ladies Taxi’ in Dubai).

For public transport travel planning, visit www.wojhati.rta.ae or call 800 9090 or visit www.rta.ae.

taxi types and fares

Types of Taxi Services

Public Taxi

This general service is open to all customers who wish to use DTC taxi for all their various travel needs within the UAE. The public taxi does not have a distinguished branding, although, it is recognizable with its simplistic red roof top only, and occasional advertisements on the doors and back bumper. This service can be reserved by calling 04 2080808.

Airport Taxi

These are exclusively for serving visitors arriving at Dubai International Airport. The Airport Taxi can be distinguished from other taxis by the writing on the front left and right side of the vehicle. The Airport Taxis can even help connect you to other emirates in the country. All you need to do is to look for the taxi sign icon inside Terminals 1, 2 and 3. Visitors can call 04 2080808 for advance booking, or do SMS booking and/or online booking. The Dubai Airport taxis are restricted to family size vans only, but, anyone can use the vans, and pay family-size prices for airport trips (Dh.25 flagfall).

DTC VIP Taxi (Luxury Taxi Service)

This is unique service with its luxurious comfort, privacy and distinct drivers, and is different from normal taxi service. It is available to all customers from Dubai International Airport Terminal 1, 3 and outside. You get to choose from about 20 luxury black vehicles, ten 2012 Infiniti M37, ten 2012 Lexus S350 with white plates number. There are about 45 drivers with formal black suit and special cap available.The starting meter fare from the airport for the service is Dh.50. The taxi can be booking by calling 04 2080808.

Ladies and Families Taxi

Ladies and Families Taxi is a dedicated service for ladies, driven by female drivers. This spacious taxi is exclusively reserved for ladies and families of all nationalities, and can be booked by calling 04 2080808 directly, or picked-up at the Dubai International Airport, various shopping malls or hospitals, depending on availability. This has a radiant pink roof top, and is the only DTC service without a red roof top.

Special Needs Taxi

Special Needs Taxi service is designed particularly as a ‘Special Wheel for Special Need’ and is a sophisticated vehicle equipped and designed with travel comfort in mind. It can be reserved 24 hours in advance by calling 04 2080808, and is distinguished by its universal special needs blue icon logo, placed on the side doors and back window of the taxi. The starting metre fare for a Special Needs Taxi is Dh.6.00 during daytime and Dh.7 during night time.

Hatta Taxi

This service is offered to residents of City of Hatta, although, it has a jurisdiction authority to pick-up and drop customers from Dubai and vice-versa. The service can be availed from Al Sabkha (near Public Bus Station) and Al Aweer (Fruit and Vegetable market).

Hala Taxi E-hailing Service

The latest in line is the new company, Hala – taxi e-hailing service. The RTA, in August 2019 announced the official launch of the joint venture with Careem – Hala. It is the newest way to book a Dubai taxi, which can be done through the Careem app. Hala is working to reach fleet capacity of over 5,500 Dubai taxis to be made available on the Careem app by September 2019, which would be 50 percent of RTA’s taxi fleet. Hala is also working to reduce the estimated time of arrival to less than 5 minutes in the coming months.

The prices for Dubai Taxi booked through Hala will range from Dh.8 during regular hours to Dh.9 at night, and Dh.12 at peak hours.

In Safe Hands Taxi Service

This service is open to all customers on daily, weekly and monthly basis, based on request of the customer. The service is characterized by the comfort of speedy service, privacy and overall quality, apart from highly trained drivers. The service caters to all members of the society, particularly, women and children, students, families and people with special needs. For availing the service, call 04 2080555 or fill out the application online and sent to [email protected].

SMS Taxi Service

SMS Taxi Service has been introduced for the ease and efficiency of taxi reservation. The service only requires you to enter the area number shown in the SMS board in a text message and send it to 4774. The service is linked to the Distribution and Reservation System of RTA, and hence all requests are directly sent to the system and closest vacant taxi within customer’s area will be dispatched. However, only Etisalat numbers can use the SMS Taxi numbers. You just have to type the area number in english digits based on the area you are in and SMS to 4774. You will receive the reservation number via SMS.

Taxi Rental Service

The DTC offers taxi with driver rental service for local travel, on reserving 24 hours in advance by calling 04 2080808. The rental rate for 6hrs is Dh.500 and for 12 hrs it is Dh.800.

For Government authorities, strategic partners and private companies, taxi rental service offer fixed fare of Dh.1000 for 24 hours, Dh.800 for 12 hours, and/or Dh.500 for 6 hours rental of vehicle with driver.


Mashweer is the new services that provide fully-trained, competent drivers (without taxis) to those interested in hiring a driver for a limited period of time, as agreed upon between two parties. However, you will have to provide a vehicle, with proper insurance and fuel. For service requests, you can call 04 2080555. The service is also available on visiting the DTC Customer Service Office at Terminal 3 of Dubai Airport.

This service is charged at the rate Dh.40 an hour for minimum of two hours, Dh.250 for 8 hours, Dh.1000 for a week, and Dh.3500 for a month.

How to book a taxi?

The taxi service can be availed over telephone by dialling 04-2080808 (for enquiry and reservations). The prefix ‘04’ is not necessary when dialling from landlines.

There is also the RTA online taxi booking service, which can be availed by logging on to www.etaxi.ae.

From mid-2014 taxis can also be booked through the RTA Smart Taxi app introduced by Dubai RTA. The application enables users to book a taxi through their smartphone. The app communicates the location of the user to the driver. The progress of taxi can also be followed live on screen. The app also provides additional info like name of the driver and approximate arrival time at the destination. The starting fare for booking a taxi through the app by phone is Dh.6 during day time and Dh.7 at night. The App is available for android and iOS devices.

DTC Address:
Dubai Taxi Corporation
P.O. Box 2647
Amman Street, Al Muhaisanah Area,
Main Building, First Floor,
Tel: +971 4 2641111
Fax: +971 4 2080897
Email: [email protected].

Taxi Rental Rates within Dubai

The regular charges for 6 hours of Taxi service within Dubai is Dh.500.00

The charges for 12 hours of Taxi service within Dubai is Dh.800.

These rates are applicable to public taxis, and ladies and family taxis.

Airport Taxi Fare

Just as is the case with all other types of taxis, the basic conditions are the same. The starting meter charge from Dubai International Airport area will be Dh.25.00. Running meter charges are Dh.1.00 every 571 meters and Dh.1.75 per kilometre. The waiting charge rates are Dh.30.00 an hour, with Dh.0.50 charges as rate of increment.

Special Needs Taxi Fare

Just as is the case with all other types of taxis, the basic conditions are the same. The starting meter charge from Dubai International Airport area will be Dh.25.00. For bookings done through Dispatch Centre within Dubai during daytime (6:00am to 10:00pm) the starting meter charge for road/street pick-up is Dh.6.00, and for bookings done in the night time (10:00pm to 6:00am) the charge is Dh.7.00. For bookings done through Dispatch Centre outside Dubai, the fares are calculated from the start of journey, to end destination. The meter fare for 285metres is Dh.0.50 and the fare for 1 kilometre is Dh.1.75.

Ladies Taxi Fare

Just as is the case with all other types of taxis, the basic conditions are the same. The starting meter charge from Dubai International Airport area will be Dh.25.00. For bookings done through Dispatch Centre within Dubai during daytime (6:00am to 10:00pm) the starting meter charge for road/street pick-up is Dh.6.00, and for bookings done in the night time (10:00pm to 6:00am) the charge is Dh.7.00. For bookings done through Dispatch Centre outside Dubai, the fares are calculated from the start of journey, to end destination. Running meter charges are Dh.1.00 every 625 meters, Dh.1.75 every 571 meters (Airport) charged at Dh.1.75 per kilometre and Dh.1.60 charged per kilometre. The waiting charge rates are Dh.30.00 an hour, with Dh.0.50 charged as rate of increment.

Mashweer Taxi Fare

This service is available at Dh.40 an hour for a period of two hours. The service charge will be Dh.250 for 8 hours, Dh.1000 for a week, Dh.3500 for a month.

Major Taxi companies in Dubai

  • Al Arabia Taxi

    Color: Green
    Tel: +971-4-2855566 Toll free 800-272242

  • City Taxi

    Color: White
    Tel: +971 4 3331110

  • Cars Taxi

    Color: Blue
    Tel: +971-4-2693344 Toll free 800-227789

  • Dubai Taxi

    Color: Red
    Tel: +971-4-2080808

  • Metro Taxi

    Color: Orange
    Tel: +971-4-2673222 / 600-566000

  • National Taxi

    Color: Yellow
    Tel: +971-4-3390002 / 600-543322

  • Ladies Taxi

    Color: Pink
    Tel: +971-4-2080808

  • Hatta Taxi

    Color: Gold
    Tel: +971-4-2080000

Tips For Tourists Using Taxis

Keep a map of Dubai handy.

Try to know a major landmarks near your destination.

Always try to use only the cream-coloured Dubai Taxi franchise taxis. Do not use private unmarked taxis, as they are illegal and may get involved in scams.

Taxi by SMS

An option of availing taxi by SMS is possible. All that has to be done, is to send an SMS text message to 4774, requesting for a taxi at any of the taxi ranks in Dubai. Each taxi rank has a location number, which needs to be included in your SMS request. You will receive a confirmation reply or a call from nearby taxi service.

Private Taxis

Although private taxis are available and prevalent in Dubai, it is considered illegal, and at times, passengers get fined for using illegal car pool service.

Tipping Taxi Drivers

This is not mandatory in Dubai or even in rest of the UAE, unlike in New York or other places. Some people do not tip at all, while at times some tip up to 15 to 20 percent of the fare.

Taxis to Other Emirates

Each emirate has its own licenses for taxis. Therefore, if you catch a taxi in Dubai, you should catch only a Dubai registered taxi wherever you intend to go. Similarly, if you want to go from Sharjah to Dubai, then you should only get into a Sharjah registered taxi.

Robin Vinod

Writer/blogger who writes on topics such as travel, real estate, employment and everyday life on GCC countries

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