Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 1 April 2020

Dubai taxis clock up 25 years and a billion passengers

The publicly-owned service now employs 11,500 drivers

Dubai's taxi fleet has expanded from 81 vehicles in 1995 to more than 11,000 today. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Dubai's taxi fleet has expanded from 81 vehicles in 1995 to more than 11,000 today. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Dubai's publicly-owned taxi service has marked 25 years and more than 680 million journeys.

The Roads and Transport Authority on Saturday estimated its drivers have carried more than one billion passengers in their vehicles.

The fleet began with just 81 taxis in 1995. That was long before the construction of the Downtown and Marina, the arrival of the metro in 2009, and a time when the population was about 600,000.

A quarter of a century later and the 5,200 vehicles and 11,500 drivers run around the clock in shifts serving a much bigger city and a population of about 3 million.

Mattar Al Tayer, director general of the authority, reviewed a push to make greater use of digital services and artificial intelligence, using booking apps to speed up journeys and connect drivers with passengers, a news release read.

Most recently, a deal with ride-hailing company Careem allowed customers to book city-owned taxis, which are the cheapest available, along with Careem's own upmarket vehicles.

Updated: January 4, 2020 03:59 PM

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