View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Taxis in Dubai Fujairah and Other Emirates

Taking a Taxi in and from Fujairah
Anna Whitehouse from TimeOut Dubai has written a damning article about taxis in Dubai.

The taxi service is an area for vast improvement if Dubai is to bid to host the Olympic Games.

The article includes several stories of hailing a cab and then this distillation of how to speed up your journey:

While the RTA widens roads, builds bridges and generally tackles the ‘traffic issue’, here’s a few things you can do to speed up the hailing process:

1. If you need a cab in rush hour (8am-10am or 5pm-7pm) book an hour in advance. Taxis won’t come immediately at these times.

2. If it’s an urgent journey to the airport or a business meeting, book the night before.

3. If you’ve booked a cab and then pick one off the street, cancel the booking so that someone else can have your cab directed to them. If everyone does this, the whole system will speed up.

4. Make sure you’re registered with the RTA so they know exactly who you are and where you’re based. Confusing directions add to the time lag.

Fujairah Taxis
In Fujairah there has been a vast transformation in the last year but this has come with some cost to passengers. Formerly (in the white taxi era) the taxis were generally small, old, dirty, smelly and few had seat belts. Most drivers had seat belts but did not use them! The good thing was that it only cost Dh5 to get anywhere across the city and rates could be negotiated for having one’s regular driver or travelling further afield. Drivers would generally exceed speed limits on trips out of the city, getting up to dangerous speeds of 160kms+. Speed cameras are now curbing this problem.

Now, a new company (Fujairah Transport corporation) has dumped the white fleet and commissioned a yellowy-lime fleet of larger Nissans, with bigger boots (trunks) and safety belts all around. Drivers are now wearing smart uniforms with ties. These cars come with meters, which is more expensive but fairer to both passengers and the drivers. With a small population (130,000+) Fujairah taxis appear to have a quick response time and, because of the number of taxis cruising around looking for a job, it is still possible to walk out on any main street and hail a taxi within 10-15 minutes. The experience of others might be different here! Why do taxis never seem to drive pass without passengers when you need them?

The non-existent train service between Fujairah and other main centres and the patchy bus service means that many without their own car and those who detest driving in Dubai (there are many) will pay for a taxi (about Dh230-250 to Dubai International airport) or negotiate a price in a shared taxi from the taxi stand next to the Hindi Movie House on Fujairah’s main street. The latter option is often a squeeze but cheaper. There are some transport companies (e.g. Safari) that also offer an inter-city service at a fixed rate.

Taxis in Other Emirates?
It would be interesting to hear about the taxi experience (including tips) of others who live in Fujairah and the other emirates.

Check out the full article at:
Anna Whitehouse, ‘Driving us Mad’, TimeOut Dubai, 11 August 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: One of the new canary yellow Fujairah taxis.

Related Articles:
Geoff Pound, 'Faith and Work Colliding in a Taxi,' ETE, 27 March 2007.
Binsal Abdul Kader, ‘Finding Taxi ‘is a nightmare on Abu Dhabi Streets’, Gulf News, 10 April 2008.
Fuad Ali, 'Fujairah to get New Taxi Fleet', Gulf News, 27 April 2007.