Taxis are a cheap and easy way to navigate your way around Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi Centre for Regulation of Transport by Hire Cars (TransAD), a Government organisation established in 2006, is the body responsible for regulating taxis.
Some companies allow you to phone and book a cab, but the simplest way is to walk to a street and hail one. As Abu Dhabi's main streets are designed on a grid system it shouldn't take you long to find a main road and a marked taxi stop.
During peak road hours and on the busier roads it can be a struggle to find a cab. If there are other people waiting you should take your place in the line.
Do not expect other people to be as polite as you – if you have been waiting and somebody steps in front of you, put your hand on the taxi door and tell them you were in the queue first. This generally works and if it does not, the taxi driver should step in and tell the other person to allow you to get into the taxi.
If, however, you do not speak up you may find yourself roadside for hours.
Saying where you would like to go in Abu Dhabi is not without its difficulties. The diversity of nationalities in the capital, and the way in which the city has sprung up so quickly means that people call places different things.
Al Wahda bus station
The green-coloured bus station is on the corner of Muroor and Defence Roads. For longer journeys it is best to head to Al Wahda bus station. Here, as well as buses to Dubai and surrounding emirates, you will find taxis and minibuses that can be bargained down to a good deal.
The company’s cars are sliver with a yellow light on top. They operate on a meter system and are generally a safe and reliable way to get around.
When the taxi light is yellow, it means the taxi is empty and available. It will appear as a red light if a passenger is onboard.
All taxis run on a meter and TransAD guarantees that your trip is free if the driver forgets to turn it on.
The meter starts at Dh3 and then costs Dh1 per kilometre thereafter. For journeys off the island of Abu Dhabi the price will increase from Dh1 per km to Dh1.50. Bookings made by phone are charged an extra Dh5.
Although all drivers are supposed to be able to communicate in both Arabic and English the standards of both are not always what they should be, which can make things a little difficult. It helps to know the alternative names of the place you want to go to. A lot of the time the drivers will not be familiar with street numbers as they were introduced after the street names.
See below for a list of simple directions in Abu Dhabi “taxi language”, which tends to be a mix of Khaleej Arabic and Urdu.
White and Gold taxis
As the original steeds of the city, the white and gold cab drivers of the old school are well versed in the city's layout and are probably the best bet if you don't know the route to your destination.
However, the introduction of the silver national taxis means that the yellow and gold taxis do tend to try and get as much money as they can out of you. There is a meter in every taxi and you should insist on it being turned on when you start your trip.
The meter normally starts at Dh2.50, with each kilometre afterwards costing 50fils.
Although the intense decorations inside the taxi may distract you, there is no getting away from the fact that few white and gold taxis have functioning seat-belts in the back seats.
Most drivers of yellow and gold cabs are excellent in their knowledge of the city's layout.
How much?: Kam
Keep the change: Khali baggi
You can call TransAD on 600 535353 for enquiries.