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Banning of Private Taxis - Is it Justified?

Surfers Respond

Just a month ago in Dubai, you could blithely ignore a honking DTC taxi and flag a private one with aplomb and lean back with a sense of satisfaction at having saved a few dirhams. DTC taxis were shunned by many for they found the galloping metered fares too steep, especially for long distance rides.

Consequently, the steady phasing out of private taxis may not spell good news for Dubai residents and tourists who depend on public transport. DTC buses, though a cheaper mode of transport are available only on selected routes and their frequency (on some routes, the time interval between 2 buses is as long as 1 hour!) often leaves a lot to be desired. So it is back to DTC cabs or the ones run by their franchisees (see news report below). GoDubai takes this opportunity to invite your opinion on this issue. Do you welcome this move to ban private taxis? Submit your suggestions/comments

Excerpts from a report in Khaleej Times dated Feb 3, entitled Metro Taxi moves into top gear.

Metro Taxi is one of the three franchisees of the Dubai Transport Corporation (the other two being Cars and National), which plans to operate all of its allocated fleet strength of 754 cars by March, 2001, according to Mr. Ilyas Abdul Wahab Galadari, Chairman of the Metro Taxi Company LLC. He said that the taxis operated by the Dubai Transport Corporation and its franchisees can look forward to better business volumes with the number of taxis in the emirate limited to 4750 after disbanding of the practice of individuals operating private taxis.

Surfers Respond

Sushil Kumar

This is a move in the right direction but this should be taken after they reduce the exhorbitant rates in DTC.You have the fares starting at 3 Dhs and then jumping at alarming rates to huge amounts.If you happen to take a DTC from Karama to Al Garhoud DTC drivers tend to take the Garhoud bridge route which will be approximately 18Dhs whereas the Al Maktoum route will be 12Dhs.For the unsuspecting and new person in Dubai he will have the fright of his life once he reaches the destination.Also he might feel tempted to jump out of the cab enroute. Also it would be worthwhile if they would make the DTC drivers refrain from smoking in the cab.Also nowadays I have seen cab drivers refusing to take people for short trips.A recent experience for me was when I took a cab from Lamcy Plaza where he outright refused to take me to Karama. Sort these problems and the change would definitely be welcome since Dubai is a major tourist destination to many and DTC taxis would improve the image of Dubai as a whole.

Vivek Satish

I used to live in Dubai till recently and I have made a few obvervations. First of all no one is forcing you to go in a private taxi. If you decide to travel by one you do that at your own will. The DTC taxis are nice and flashy, but it's not cost effective. In a city like Dubai, there are so many traffic jams everyday. In a private taxi, the driver would take a longer route but you will reach your destination faster at no extra cost. But if a DTC cabbie did the same, you would be paying a hefty sum. I think that both should co-exist so that people can travel within the budget or in a more pocket friendly way. Dubai needs to improve it's public transport system so that people don't have to shell out such huge amounts to get to a destination.

Aman Sangar

Banning the private taxis is a good move and phasing them out gradually over a period if time too was a good idea on part of the Dubai Government. The average citizen is always tempted by a bargain and a price discount. This is exactly what the private taxis offer, but at what cost I ask? Would you like to be driven by a rowdy, smelly and ill tempered uncouth who argues and fights with you about everything ranging from where he can drop you, where he can't, the fare and on top of that if he changes his mind he'll ask you to get out wherever he wishes. Using private taxis I had so many fights with them that if a trip would go uneventful I would be pleasantly surprised. Depending on how you dress, who you are with, which area you are standing in and lastly how you talk to the driver- the rates fluctuate. Besides this the danger these gung-ho drivers are to fellow motorists is also noteworthy.

Dubai has an excellent reputation of being a safe city, are we willing to tarnish this image to get a cheap ride to some place? I do not think that the available public transportation is either adequate or appropriate. On one hand the metered taxis are over priced and on the other hand the buses don't have an adequate network. But if given a choice I would rather have a few less Dhirams in my pocket or spend some more time travelling rather than putting up with the menace of private taxis. Then again if public consensus is gathered a petition to the government requesting to bring down the prices of the metered taxis and/or increasing the bus network can also be sent. What I mean is that life can go on without being held at ransom by these private taxis.

Neville D'Cunha

I have lived in Dubai & Abu Dhabi for 10 years. Although I dont live there anymore I do keep myself updated with all the current affairs of UAE. My opinion on this TAXI issue is BAN private Taxis on one condition, Lower the RATES. Besides for a beautiful Country like UAE needs railway right from Abu Dhabi-Fujairah. WOW! that would be so gorgeous.

Faisal Amjad

I think banning private taxis will be a loss to the majority of the people. Most of the people working in Dubai live in Sharjah. Not everybody can afford taking a DTC taxi back and forth everyday. In this context, Dubai definitely needs some proper transportation for the DXB-Sharjah route. Looking at the pay structure here there are people earning as little as 2K/month. They can't afford such high transportation costs. Agreed that DTC taxis are much presentable, but give the masses affordable transportation, I say. We can have more mini vans that run through Sharjah-Dubai.

Muhannad Jabi

By banning private taxis, no doubt the image of Dubai will improve, but it's a heavy price to pay... reduce the DTC fares and it will be a happier world altoghter!

Syed Haris

I don't mind if private taxis are banned, they should be, since most of them are uncultured or go to routes they prefer to go, not their passengers. But the point is the DTC cabs are a bit expensive. I hope they bring down their fare by atleast 25%, it will attract more passengers and will surely boost the image of Dubai.


The question is not whether to ban private taxis or not, but whether the fares charged by Dubai Taxi are fair or not. The point I want to make is this...the fuel cost is same in all Emirates and cost of living is more or less the same, then why are these taxi fares different between Emirates? Especially when compared to Abu Dhabi, taxi fares in Dubai are more than 3 times. Can the officials or anyone explain this discrepency to the public?

Alex Joseph

Banning private taxis may be good for the image of Dubai but for us residents it becomes very expensive to travel by DTC. The authorities should reduce the fare so that the residents are happy and the image of the city is also maintained.

Reena Bhatia

I don't think so. Just today, I took the Metro cab and got stuck for life in that. It was a horrible experience. Atleast private taxi guys don't take you on a tour to get more money, Metro taxi did that. I asked the cab guy to take me to the Airport road (that's where I work) and he took me upto Al Mulla Plaza and after 15 mins of his nonsense he told me that he doesn't know where the airport was. I got late to work and on top of that I had to pay more. Is that justified? This happened to me today in the morning and I'm very upset with the Metro taxi service. I have been living in dubai for the past 23 years, I have never had a problem of this kind.


Please ban the private taxis, they are rude and ill-mannered. All my experiences with them have been painful. First, they ask where you want to go and if they don't like it they tell you to get out. These experiences have left a very bad impression in my mind. They are inhuman and uncivilized. Once I asked a private cab driver from Deira to take me to pick up my 2 year old daughter at her nursery and then take me home. But he refused and rudely at that. I had to wait a long while and ultimately, I took a DTC cab. Yes, they may be more expensive than the private cabs, but at least they are humans. I'd rather pay more than ride with any of the private cabs.

Biju Lal

Private Taxis are more economical for the normal class of people to travel because of the low rates. Our municipality buses are not available in all routes and they rarely arrive on time. If people travel in metered taxis they have to pay almost double that of the private taxi. So either private taxis should not be banned or else these metered taxis should reduce the charges.


The other day, I was travelling with my two young daughters from Rigga Road to Wafi Mall. I took a metered taxi. Believe it or not, the meter showed Dhs 13, in a private taxi, I would have spent just Dhs 8. The return journey was the same. I would have saved totally Dhs 10, which is not something to be sneezed at. I felt really cheated that day. DTC cabs take roundabout routes, and the meter just jumps alarmingly. Occasionally, people would not mind spending on a DTC cab, but when it comes to a regular basis, you do save more by taking a private cab. So in that respect, banning of private cabs is quite upsetting.

Jayshree R.

One always had the feeling of the cat that got the cream when we sat in a private cab. Many people in Dubai are going to miss the private taxis. Especially the ones who shared a private cab. Introducing metered cabs is a very organised step, but...

It would help if the taxi fares are reduced atleast. Or atleast the minimum fare of 3 dirhams could be fixed for a minimum distance of one or two kilometres (before the meter starts to go up). DTC buses are not that frequent or have circuitous routes that make it unpopular due to the time that one spends sitting inside one. I reside on Riqqa Street and there is only one DTC route plying on the road. Now that the Shopping Festival is round the corner, one can guess the hole that would burn our pockets!


Yes, I guess private taxis should be banned because Dubai has now developed a lot and those cheap cabs don't look good. Or Dubai Government can strickly ask the cab drivers to wear a proper uniform and to be decent and keep their vehicles a decent look. That's all I can say, Of course they are cheap and it's a great way to save money. So now it's upto the Dubai Government whether they ban private taxis or they reduce DTC Taxi Charges.

Naresh Motwani

In my view, they should not ban private taxies for they are cheaper than DTC taxies. When we travel by these meter taxies, our eyes are constantly on the meter and we become tense when the fare is more than what we budgeted at the end of the journey. On the other hand in the private taxies, we fix the price beforehand, so we know exactly how much we are going to pay.

Secondly, we have the opportunity to opt for share taxis where we again save money. This facility is not available in meter taxies.


I've been around Dubai for the past 12 years and I can tell you how relieved I am that the old private taxis have been phased out. If you have travelled in one of them, you will know what I am talking about. Imagine a gas chamber with some insidious smell of sweat, stale perfume, dust and more sweat, killing you softly. The new taxis with their tension-free meters and plush interiors make for a reasonably enjoyable journey (the frenetic driving skills notwithstanding).

J. Lekshmi

In our opinion, private taxis are more economic than the others...the new taxis can grow very fast with people's support, yes, but they have to reduce the meter charges.

Mrs. Pinto

No, banning on private taxis is not justified. It is much too expensive to travel with the DTC or other Meter Taxis. All can't afford to go by these taxis. Of course, people who have a Driving Licence do not have any problem. But those who were dependent on private taxis earlier are facing a real problem now. Every time we can't wait for a long time for Dubai Muncipality Buses, can we?
Submit your suggestions/comments

By Shanti Kalyaan

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