x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Calling all cars - Revamp for Dubai taxi system

A new dispatch system for Dubai taxis will launch by the end of the year with the emirate will be divided into 180 zones instead of the current 70, and cabs will be fitted with upgraded software.

The new zones in Dubai will be smaller and the system will target a taxi nearest to the passenger. Paulo Vecina / The National
The new zones in Dubai will be smaller and the system will target a taxi nearest to the passenger. Paulo Vecina / The National

DUBAI // A new dispatch system for taxis will launch by the end of the year.

The emirate will be divided into 180 zones instead of the current 70, and cabs will be fitted with upgraded software.

Bookings made through the Roads and Transport Authority's (RTA) dispatch centre will be sent to the nearest available taxi, said Ahmed Mohammed Hammadi, acting chief executive of the Public Transport Agency (PTA) at the RTA.

The system has been installed in 3,100 of Dubai Taxi Corporation's fleet, excluding airport cabs. All five franchises will have the new system by the end of the year.

The new zoning will reduce the pick-up time as well as the number of kilometres lost. The zones will be smaller and the system will target a taxi nearest to the passenger.

The meter will automatically add additional fees, such as the Dh20 tariff for crossing into Sharjah, instead of the driver doing so.

Updated maps will be installed in the cars, as well as speed warnings.

Adel Shakeri, director of transport systems at the PTA, said the software would "also warn drivers of going over 120kph, which will save drivers on speeding fines".

Madeline Daws, a marketing executive, said she has little trouble with taxis finding her villa in Jumeirah.

"It depends on the time of day," she added. "During rush hour, it might take them a lot longer to because they are far away.

"Sometimes I get a call from a driver telling me he is outside 40 minutes after I got tired waiting and organised another way."

Mansoor Al Falasi, acting chief executive of Dubai Taxi Corporation, said he has tested the new system as a customer.

"I asked [the driver] where he was when he got the booking and he said he was very close by, at the vegetable market," he said. "Previously, he told me, he could be in Deira and get a booking at Palm Jumeirah. Imagine the difference this [system] will make now."

eharnan@thenational.ae