While the recently established Abu Dhabi Metro bus system is enjoying rapid growth, it has a way to go to provide convenient coverage in the area and has not been a threat to the local taxi drivers yet. Taxis are still the best way to get around. They plentiful and inexpensive but there are some things that a visitor should know.
The first thing a visitor notices is there are two distinctive types of taxis, one type has the white and gold livery.
These have been the mainstay until about two years ago. They can still be seen on the streets but the government has planned to phase them out completely in the next few years and fewer are plying the streets as the months go by. These are older cars that may not be in the best repair and the drivers may not speak English well and but they get the job done. These guys will not rip you off but make sure a price is agreed upon. Intracity fares should not be more than AED 15-20 (~$4-$6). They are being replaced by the silver taxis.
The silver taxis are an effort to modernize the fleet and the image of the city. The cars are newer and larger, the drivers are uniformed and speak English well. The high-tech meter is always used and the car is speed limited in certain areas. There is a central dispatch facility too. These taxis run about $2-$3 more for the same trip as the older taxis.
A unique category of the silver taxis and that is the “Ladies Taxi” which are only for women and children under ten years of age. The drivers are all female too. The “Pink Taxis” have proved wildly popular and more are planned.
The proper way to hail a taxi here is to extend the arm straight out and open and close the hand repeatedly .
Either way, you can’t go wrong with the Abu Dhabi taxi system. The drivers are knowledgeable, courteous and professional. unlike the thieves this writer has found in other countries. The drivers usually carry change and a 10-15% gratuity is not expected but appreciated. It’s an incredible bargain!
Here’s hoping all the white and gold guys can get a job in a silver car when the time comes!