It used to be simple; one taxi service, one taxi queue. But now, the traveler is prompted with multiple options when he walks out of Dubai International Airport, and an unaware tourist is easily misled by taxi-drivers claiming to be the 'airport taxi service'.
Maria Strasshof, a Dubai expat, walked straight into the trap when she returned from her annual vacation at Dubai International Airport.
"Before I could make my way to the regular taxi queue, I was approached by a gentleman offering me a ride in a taxi. When I told him my destination, he presented a printed piece of paper on which the price for all areas was mentioned. A ride to my destination would cost double the price of a regular taxi ride,” she said.
"He claimed that taxi fares from the airport are fixed. Luckily I knew that was not true."
The Road and Transport Authority (RTA) offers three services from the airport, explains an RTA spokesperson. “There are the red-roof taxis, pink-roof taxis and the limousine taxis; all available from the official taxi queue. Once you are in that queue, you can tell what type of service you would like to use," he explains.
Besides RTA, there are two other licensed agents that operate from Dubai International Airport. “Emirates airlines offer their own limousine services and we have a contract with Valtrans Limousine to offer services from the airport,” confirms Ali Zaigham, Manager at Dubai Airports Company.
Ahmad represents Valtrans Limousine at Terminal 1. "We offer customers luxury cars like the Audi. It is available 24 hours a day, and there is no starting fee. But the prices are fixed," he says.
A taxi ride on a limousine from airport costs Dh95 to Bur Dubai,
Dhs150 to Al Barsha or Dhs200 to Sharjah, independent of where exactly one needs to go. "That is the benefit; you pay the same price for whatever location in your area," says Ahmed.
However, the same prices were offered to Maria. “I was presented the same list. But I was not told that this was a limousine taxi service.
I was told the opposite!”
Ahmad agrees that there are ‘cheaters’ out there. “There are many people claiming to be us, although they are not. They will intercept the customers before they can reach us, while we always bring the customer to our stand.”
Meanwhile, the opposite is possible too. “When I walked into the parking lot to look for my sister, I was offered a taxi ride by someone who was driving his own car,” tells Rasha Rai, an Indian resident of Dubai who recently returned from a trip to Spain. “The driver told me that it would be cheaper than a regular taxi ride!”
For an RTA taxi the customer will be able to rely on the meter.
Although taxis departing from the airport adopt a starting fee of Dhs25, the price of a regular cab would be lower than that of a limousine taxi; Dhs 70 for Bur Dubai, Dhs 75 to Al Barsha and Dhs 100 or more to Sharjah, depending on the destination.
“Any service other than the RTA taxi, Emirates limousine or Valtrans limousine is an unregistered taxi service, which should be discarded,”