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Home: Living Here: Transport In The United Arab Emirates

Transportation in the United Arab Emirates is mainly possible by means of cars. Cars take up the largest portion of transportation in the UAE, which is followed by buses and then motorcycles.

Cars
In order to own a car, the only requirement is for you to have a UAE residence visa. Brand new cars can cost between Dhs. 40,000 ($ 11,000) and 200,000 ($ 55,000), while second hand cars can start as low as Dhs. 8,000 ($ 2,200). The list of new car dealers can be found at UAE Car Agents and Dealers, while a list of second hand car dealers can be found here.

Taxis
If you don't have a car of your own, then the best means of getting round in the UAE is by taxi. Taxis will take you within an emirate or from emirate to emirate, if you have the money. In the UAE, taxis are only allowed to take you from the emirate their vehicle is registered in, to any destination you wish to go but by law cant bring you back. For example's sake, a cab registered in Dubai, can take you from Dubai to Sharjah but cant pick you up in Sharjah and bring you to Dubai. I am not saying that taxis wouldn't do it, but by law they are not supposed to and if they are caught they will pay a large fine and most likely have they're taxi taken away from them for sometime. It is a strange system, as taxis have to go back to their emirate empty after they drop someone somewhere. The main disadvantage is for the customers, as the taxi fares would be much less if taxis could take people from anywhere to anywhere.

Taxis in the UAE charge by law of the emirate or by meter. Meter taxis are widely used in Dubai while taxis in the other emirates charge according to the official price issued by the emirate. The table below contains official taxi fare prices for the emirates of Ajman and Sharjah.

Ajman Sharjah
Within Ajman - Dhs. 3 - 5
To Sharjah - Dhs. 7 - 15
To Dubai - Dhs. 20 - 35
Within Sharjah - Dhs. 5 - 10
To Ajman - Dhs. 10
To Dubai - Dhs. 15 - 30

Many individuals prefer to bundle together in taxis to reduce the price per person. Most emirates will have a taxi stand, where people come to share a cab to either go to another emirate or else to a far away area of the same emirate.

Dubai Taxi Stands
The most popular taxi stand in Dubai is the Deira taxi stand and it has buses that travel to nearly every emirate in the UAE at particular hourly or half-hourly intervals (or else when the bus fills). This Inter-Emirates bus system is run by the Dubai government's transportation system, Dubai Transport Corporation (DTC). Dubai Transport took over the taxi stand in 1997, which was previously being run by station-wagon cabs that were not very clean or comfortable. Dubai Transport buses are clean, spacious, air-conditioned, and economical. The travel rates are given below.

Sharjah - Dhs. 5 Ras Al Khaymah - Dhs. 20
Ajman - Dhs. 7 Fujairah - Dhs. 25
Umm Al Quwain - Dhs. 10 Khorfakhan - Dhs. 30
Dhaid Dhs. - 15  Al Ain - Dhs. 30
Masafi - Dhs. 20 Abu Dhabi - Dhs. 15

Dubai Transport started a new Dubai to Sharjah taxi stand in the central market place of Deira on the 7th of August 2002. The taxi stand has 53 new 30-seater buses provided by Al Futtaim Motors.

Sharjah Taxi Stands
There are no official taxi stands in Sharjah, but there are areas where taxis come when individuals want to travel to or from Sharjah. The main taxi area in Sharjah is in Rolla. Rolla is the central part of Sharjah that contains a large retail shopping area, and a number of banks and hotels. Individuals from Ajman who are heading to Dubai will normally stop in Rolla to change cabs to continue on to Dubai. Similarly some individuals from Dubai heading to Ajman, will stop in Rolla to change cabs to continue on to Ajman. It costs Dhs. 5/person to travel from Rolla to Dubai and Dhs. 2/person to travel from Rolla to Ajman. Other than Rolla, you can catch a cab to Dubai from the Al Khan round-about for Dhs. 3/person. It costs less than it does from Rolla because these cabs are 7 or 8 seat station-wagons, while in Rolla the cabs are regular 4 seat sedan.

As of January 10th 2004, the Sharjah-to-Dubai inter-emirate bus service has started with the building of bus stands in Rolla (Al Arouba Road) and Al Wahda street (opposite Sharjah City Centre). Initially the buses used are Dubai Transport Corporation buses, which have been returning to Dubai empty. Ticket prices are Dhs. 5 and buses travel to Deira and Bur Dubai, and Sharjah Transport plans to expand the service to other popular areas, including the beginning of Ajman.

Sharjah Transport has taken a set forward and plans to begin a new taxi transportation system in June 2004 (Gulf News). They have taken over the regular taxi system and started using metered taxis under the company banner of, Citi Taxis. Unfortunately, due to the new meter system, cost of transport within the emirate and to other emirates have doubled.

Ajman Taxi Stands
Similar to Sharjah, there aren't any dedicated taxi stand areas but there are a few locations where taxis will come to take people. The main area for taxi sharing in Ajman is Al Manama Street (the official name is Sheikh Rashid Street). You can catch a shared taxi anywhere along this street, which runs from the beach road (corniche) to the last round-about of Ajman. The reason why Al Manama Street is the taxi area is because it is the same street that Rolla is on. It cost Dhs. 2/person to travel from Ajman to Rolla. It is possible to travel to Dubai from Ajman but only in the morning. It can be done from the Ajman traffic police station round-about and costs Dhs. 5/person.

Buses
Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain have public bus transportation system. In Dubai, it costs between 1 and 4 dirhams to get on the bus and the buses are air-conditioned, with a separate area for women and men. The bus system has been handled by the Dubai Municipality since 1995 and has continuously been improving. The bus routing map provided by the Dubai Municipality unfortunately is very unorganized. It doesn't indicate the bus routes through Deira and Bur Dubai, which are the main two areas of Dubai. It would be nice to be able to select a bus route number and have the route clearly shown. The Dubai Municipality has recently announced that it plans to improve inter-emirate bus services, and has already expanded its current public bus system (Gulf News). Other than public transport, buses are used to transport children to school or workers to work.

Inter-Emirate Bus Services
As indicated above, Dubai Transport Corporation (DTC) has been leading the UAE regarding luxury and cheap bus transportation between emirates. After setting up bus stations to take passengers in Sharjah during January 2004, they have stepped forward and setup a bus station in Ajman in December 2004 (Khaleej Times). The Dubai and Abu Dhabi Municipalities have also jumped into the ring launching a Dubai-to-Abu Dhabi inter-emirate bus service known as Emirates Express in March 2005, which only costs Dhs. 15 for a one-way trip which leaves every 45 minutes (Gulf News). DTC also has slashed their prices for their Dubai-to-Abu Dhabi inter-emirate bus service to Dhs. 15, but unfortunately they are only a one-way service (Gulf News).

Motorcycles
Motorcycles are very rarely used, as it is very dangerous to ride a motorcycle here in the UAE. Motorcycles are mainly used by carrier services, as motorcycles have no problems getting through traffic jams to insure fast delivery. Individuals who can't afford a car also use motorcycles, as motorcycles can cost as low as Dhs. 3,000.

Other means of transportation are not used, as the temperature in the United Arab Emirates is quite hot all year long. Similar to the motorcycle, riding a bike isn't safe and riding on the sidewalks is not allowed.

 
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