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Driving and Public Transport

Dubai - Driving and Public Transport

Cars and taxis are the most commonly used means of transport in the city. Driving is on the right-hand side, and most road signs are in English as well as Arabic. The city has a very good road network, with bridges and a tunnel linking the areas on either side of Dubai Creek. There are also excellent road links to major towns and cities throughout the UAE. Traffic accidents are common as the standard of local driving is quite poor. There are strict penalties and fines for traffic offences such as speeding, with imprisonment or deportation being the punishment for serious crimes such as drink driving, for which there is a zero limit. There are many speed cameras around the city.

To drive in Dubai you will be required to obtain a UAE driving licence. The nationals of Germany, France, Iceland, USA, UK, Canada, the Slovac Republic, Switzerland, Spain, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, Singapore, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, the Czech Republic, Greece, Turkey, Poland, Finland, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Holland, Portugal, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand who hold a valid driving licence from their home country will automatically be issued with a UAE driving licence without the need to take a driving test. The nationals of other countries will be required to pass a UAE driving test before being issued with a licence. A valid international licence can be used to drive in Dubai on a temporary basis.

It is possible to hire self-drive cars from car rental companies in Dubai if you have a valid international licence or UAE licence. Rental charges start from around Dhs 90 per day, with discounts for longer hire periods.

Anyone who holds a residence visa for Dubai is entitled to purchase a new or used car from one of the local dealers, free of tax. New car prices range between Dhs 40,000 and Dhs 200,000, and used cards can be bought from around Dhs 8,000 upwards. Four by four vehicles are very popular here for trips into the surrounding desert. Of course, one of the other main benefits of living in this region is the very low price of petrol.

There are four companies operating metered taxis in Dubai - Dubai Transport Corporation, Metro Taxis, National Taxis and Cars Taxi. These can be hailed on the street or summoned by telephone. There are also non-metered taxis available; if using these it is advisable to agree a price for the journey with the driver before setting off. Fares usually start at around Dhs10 for short journeys within the city. Under UAE law, a taxi can take you to your destination, but can't bring you back on the return journey.

There is also a public bus system in Dubai. Buses are air-conditioned and have segregated areas for men and women. Work is to commence in 2007 on a monorail system for the city.

The city has a computerised parking permit system, in which in motorists insert coins into kiosks located throughout the city centre, and are issued with a ticket to display on their dashboard. Parking costs around Dhs 2.00 per hour, with a four-hour maximum parking time.

Added March 2007 by Patrick:
The long, long, long lines of traffic at almost all times of the day and night must be mentioned. It is a nightmare to go anywhere in Dubai without planning to be stuck in traffic or find parking. Vehicle prices are the same as the USA so don't plan to get a BMW cheap. Most drivers are used to chaotic driving from their own countries which makes driving dangerous and unpredictable. There is no such thing as driving etiquette here, just about anything goes.


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