Taxi in UAE - Fares and Guide

Page update - Sep 28, 2023

How much do cab rides cost in the Arab Emirates? What are the surcharges? Which apps will help to call a taxi? What are the fare rules and features? What is a "pink cab"? Will UBER help to save money? Read the answers on this page.

Fares and other information on this page were updated in September 2023.

Latest news

On January 12, 2023, due to falling oil prices, Dubai has reduced the taxi fares (the fares are valid at the day this page was updated in Sep 2023). The price per kilometer has been reduced from AED 2.19 to AED 1.97. Of course, the reduction is small, but it's still nice. See all the current fares below on this page.

Official and unofficial cabs

Official cabs are properly identified, equipped with a meter, and must use the meter on every trip. Any trip with the meter off is illegal. The Dubai RTA rules say so: "If the driver has not turned on the meter, the ride is free of charge".

But there are also unofficial cabs that don't have a meter. These are ordinary people who work unofficially or registered as transfer services. It is better not to use their services at all.

Attention! If you decide to use them, make sure you agree with the price before you board. There have been a lot of cases recently when such cars bring tourists to the desired destination and the cab driver requires a lot of money - 200, 300 dirhams or even more. See our page "The UAE Dirham" for the current exchange rates.

The activities of these cab drivers are usually illegal, and you can safely call the police at "999". However, sume tourists are trustful and pay the required amount. Some simply put the card to the terminal, without even looking at the amount, and then find themselves shocked by the amount deducted from the card account.

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UBER and Careem

In 2023, Careem and Uber are operating in the UAE. Uber was recently banned, then allowed again. Therefore, be mentally prepared that they may be banned again at any time.

In any case you will not be able to save money, because the tariffs are about the same. The Emirati website compared prices for rides in Dubai between RTA, Careem Go, and UberX. There is almost no difference. The cheapest Careem Go and UberX fares have recently been banned in Dubai altogether in September 2019. Now Careem and Uber have only the more expensive Careem Business and UberSELECT fares.

See the comparison results in the table below. Obviously, there is no saving.

RTA taxi UberX Careem Go
Burj Khalifa - Burj Al Arab 41 40 40
Dubai Mall - Mall of the Emirates 38 37 40
Deira - Ibn Battuta Mall 80 81 75
Dubai Marina - Dubai Airport (DXB) 77 77 77

As you can see, there is almost no difference. And don't forget Careem Go and UberX fares are not available now. Uber and Careem rides now are more expensive than shown in table above.

However, Careem and Uber have disadvantages - you have to wait longer for the car. Official RTA cabs are usually available immediately at shopping centers and attractions.

Pink taxis

These are special "women's" cabs in pink or white with a pink roof. The driver of such a cab is always a woman. Only women can ride in it, but it is allowed for children (boys) under 10 years old. Pink cabs appeared in the UAE in 2010.

The pink cabs have the highest level of safety. There is CCTV in the cabin. The cars are equipped with GPS and transmit the speed data to the control center, which guarantees that the driver does not violate the speed limit. The driver and passengers have panic buttons to call the police immediately.

Pink cab fares are about 20% higher than regular cabs. As it looks, see the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge.

Features and rules

As in almost all Arab countries, a woman can only ride in the back seat.

According to new federal regulations from 2017, children under the age of 5 can only ride in a baby seat. Read our page "Traveling to the UAE with children".

There are Taxi Line parking lots on the streets, near shopping malls or attractions. The easiest way to get a cab is to come to a Taxi Line parking.

Cab drivers have the right to pick up passengers only in their "home" emirate. Therefore, if a cab goes to another emirate, it will go back empty. To compensate, there is a rule - a fee of 20 dirhams is charged for crossing the border of the emirates.

In the UAE, there are no any surcharges for the number of passengers or for luggage. But in case of oversized luggage or too much luggage the cab driver has the right to refuse the ride.

To call a cab by phone or through the app, you need a local SIM. Read about where and how to buy it on our pages "How to call from the UAE" and "Internet in the UAE".

Pay methods

Some cab drivers accept credit cards, but this is not mandatory. Therefore, it is best to have cash dirhams. Most cab drivers take dollars, pounds or euros, but the rate is bad. For example, at the official rate of dollar:dirham 1:3.75 they will count for 1:3. For this reason, it is better to change money, read our review "Currency Exchange in the UAE".

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Tariffs in the Emirate of Dubai

Taxi activity in the Emirate of Dubai is controlled by RTA (Road & Transport Authority). This organization manages all transport in the emirate - buses, tram, Dubai subway. RTA monitors the roads and issues driver's licenses. RTA now has 11,400 vehicles in its arsenal, so there is clearly no shortage there.

Taxis can be called by calling the RTA call center, telephone 04 2080808 (+971 4 2080808). How to dial numbers in Dubai and other emirates, read our page "Telephone Codes in the UAE".

You can call for a cab with the apps. There are four different apps with the cab calling function. All four are available on AppStore and GooglePlay. But remember that you have to pay an extra 5 dirhams (not during rush hours) or 6.5 dirhams (during rush hours) for an app call.

The two best apps are "DTC - Dubai Taxi Corporation" and "RTA Dubai - Roads and Transport Authority". They are the most reliable. We recommend them in the first place.

The third app is "S'hail". It is a journey planner in Dubai with the function of calling a cab. But users complain that this function usually does not work. The fourth app is "Careem", in which you can call a choice of both a Careem cab and a regular RTA cab.

RTA determines the fares. More accurately, the RTA determines the minimum fares, because there are premium and high-capacity cabs with higher fares. There was an increase in the summer of 2022 and two decreases in September 2022 and January 2023.

The official fares in Dubai are known exactly, as the new fares were published on the official website of DTC (Dubai Taxi Corporation). The current (as of September 2023) fares are:

An important concept! What are the rush hours in Dubai? Weekday rush hours are from 8 am to 10 am (8-00 to 10-00) and from 4 pm to 8 pm (16-00 to 20-00). Weekend rush hours are from 4 pm to midnight (16-00 to 00-00). Weekends in the UAE now are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Boarding (if caught on a street) - 5 dirhams (during the day not in rush hours) or 5.5 (during rush hours or at night).

Boarding (if called by phone or online) - 12 dirhams during rush hours or 10 dirhams during other hours.

One kilometer - 1.97 dirhams.

Minimum ride cost - 12 dirhams.

Waiting time - 30 dirhams per hour and charged as 50 fils per minute.

There is a feature in Dubai. The Deira area is separated from the rest of the city by the Dubai Creek canal. Crossing the canal by bridge or tunnel costs 5 dirhams and is added to the cab trip cost.

The surcharge of +20 dirhams applies for boarding at Port Rashid.

The surcharge at Dubai International Airport (DXB) is the same +20 dirhams, you can read more about it on our page "How to get from Dubai Airport to the city". The surcharge at Al Maktoum Airport (DWC) is the same +20 dirhams, read more on our page "How to get from Al Maktoum Airport to the city".

The good news!

In April 2019, the RTA announced that it has upgraded the hardware in all the taxi cars. You can now pay with: credit cards, via Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, by the NOL card that you use to pay for the subway and buses.

Tariffs in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi

In the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the TransAD organization is in charge of cabs. They issue licenses to transport companies and determine fares. The last fare review was in May 2017. In 2022, the rides have become more expensive, but without a fare increase. A fee of 4 dirhams was introduced for travel across all four bridges to Abu Dhabi Island. In cabs, the 4 dirhams are paid by the passenger.

Any trip must be strictly on the meter. If the meter is off then the trip is free. That is what it says in TransAD regulations.

Cabs can be called by calling 02 4173888 (+971 2 4173888). Or use the "Abu Dhabi Taxi" app for iOS or Android, available in English and Arabic. There's also the "Darb" app, which is a journey planner for Abu Dhabi that has a taxi-calling function, but it doesn't always work.

TransAD has not raised fares in 2022 and 2023. At least they haven't officially announced it. Judging from our observations, tourist reviews and the numbeo service, the fares have indeed remained the same. And that's great. The current (September 2023) fares are:

Boarding from 6 am to 10 pm (6-00 to 22-00) - 5 dirhams.

Boarding at night - 5,5 dirhams.

Call by phone or app - +4 (day) and +5 (night) dirhams.

One kilometer - 1.82 dirhams.

Minimum cost of the trip - 12 dirhams.

Waiting time is 30 dirhams per hour charged as 50 fils per minute.

Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) fare is extra, with 25 dirhams for boarding. Read our page "How to get from Abu Dhabi Airport to the city".

Payment by a credit card is available in some cabs, but in some not. Payment by a Hafilat transport card is not yet available. It is strongly recommended to have cash.

If you are going to Dubai, then read our review "How to get from Abu Dhabi to Dubai".

Find your transfer

Tariffs in the Emirate of Sharjah

In the emirate of Sharjah, cabs are managed by the Sharjah RTA.

On July 2, 2022, SRTA announced that they were introducing "flexible regulation" of the cab fares depending on the economic situation. That is, SRTA will raise fares at its discretion and without notice. See the average fares below, which can be +/- 10% depending on the price of fuel in the UAE.

Current fares:

Boarding - 3.5 dirhams (daytime) and 4 dirhams (nighttime).

One kilometer - 2 dirhams.

Minimum cost of the trip is 13.5 dirhams.

You can order a cab by calling 600 525252, but it often does not work or is chronically busy. Recently, it became possible to call a cab through the official application "RTA Sharjah". Attention, the app requires registration.

There is a special fare at Sharjah Airport. Read our review "How to get from Sharjah Airport to the city".

Some cabs in Sharjah allow you to pay by credit card, but most don't. So do stock up on cash. You cannot use your local Sayer Cards.

If you are going to Dubai, then read our review "How to get from Sharjah to Dubai".

Tariffs in the Emirate of Ajman

PTC Ajman (Public Transport Corporation) runs a cab service in Ajman Emirate. The last fare increase was on April 1, 2018.

Ajman is a very small emirate, it is the smallest by area in the UAE. That's why most people there take cabs. Cab drivers usually don't use meters.

You can order a cab by calling 600 599997. Or use the Careem app, which calls local cabs in Ajman. And since 2021, there is also the "Route Transport Authority - Ajman" app, with which you can also call a cab. The app is good, but somehow hard to find in the Google Play and App Store. Search better here -

If by the meter (the prices increased from 1 July 2023):

Boarding is 2,5 dirhams.

588 meters of journey - 1 dirhams (1.7 for 1 kilometer).

Additional charge at the end of the journey - 2,5 dirhams.

Telephone or app ordering - 5 dirhams extra.

The minimum cost of the trip - 10 dirhams.

To put it simply. For the first 4 km and 116 meters you go for 10 dirhams. Then the meter starts counting. In the vast majority of cases tourists pay 10 dirhams, because Ajman is small.

If you are going to Dubai, then read our review "How to get from Ajman to Dubai".

Tariffs in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah

In the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, the RAK TA (Transportation Authority) is in charge of cabs.

Current fares:

Boarding - 5 dirhams.

One kilometer - 2 dirhams.

If going to Dubai, read our review "How to get from Ras Al Khaimah to Dubai".

Tariffs in the Emirate of Fujairah

Fares in the emirate of Fujairah are among the lowest.

Current fares:

Boarding - 7 dirhams.

One kilometer - 1.5 dirhams.

Minimum fare - 10 dirhams.

Waiting - 30 dirhams per hour, payable by the minute.

If going to Dubai, read our review "How to get from Fujairah to Dubai".

Tips for tourists

- Returning to the hotel by cab can cause problems. There are many hotels in Dubai, some have very similar names. In addition, hotels are resold and renamed, and the hotel may be listed under a different name on maps. Take a hotel business card with the exact hotel name and address. Show the card to the drivers;

- In some emirates, the fare may be increased on Friday, as Friday is a Muslim holy day. Read our review of "Fridays and Weekends in the UAE";

- Do not expect to meet a local Arab behind a steering wheel of a cab. Citizens don't work as cab drivers. Cab drivers are exparts from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh. Read our review "Citizens and the population of the UAE";

- You can calculate the approximate cost of the trip in advance. Use Google.Maps and calculate according to the tariffs we gave above. But sometimes drivers take a longer route to make more money, there's no getting away from it.

Have a nice trip to the UAE, and read our interesting pages about the country (see list of the pages below).


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To the UAE with Kids

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Holidays in the UAE

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Money in the UAE - Emirati Dirham

Currency Exchange in the UAE

How Much Money to Take to the UAE

Food Prices in the UAE

Tourist Taxes in the UAE

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