GETTING AROUND



Most tourists visiting the UAE on all-in package tours will base themselves at one or more hotels in the UAE, using the ubiquitous and inexpensive taxis for sightseeing and shopping, and local tour companies for more extended trips. The Metro in Dubai is also an excellent way of getting around that city. However, it is worth remembering that cars and four-wheel drives are readily available for hire, the road network is excellent and there are intriguing places to visit far from the cosmopolitan cities.

Transport

Car hire
Taxis
Metro
Buses
Water taxis

Car Hire

Most of the large car hire firms are represented at airports and hotels. Some local firms also operate car hire services. Rates can vary so it is best to shop around. The services of the larger reputable firms can be very useful in case of emergency, but the smaller local firms also give good deals.

If you are a UAE resident, you must have a valid UAE driving licence to hire a car. Non-residents will be issued with a UAE temporary driving permit by car hire companies on presentation of a valid national or international driving licence (the latter is required in Abu Dhabi), two photographs and a passport. A temporary driving permit from any emirate allows you to drive throughout the UAE.

There is an extensive high quality road network throughout the Emirates and unleaded petrol is cheap. Driving is on the right. Traffic regulations are strictly enforced. Under no circumstances can you drink and drive. Even a small amount of alcohol will put you over the legal limit. Seat belts are compulsory. Children under 12 are prohibited from travelling in front seats of vehicles.

Contact the Arabian Automobile Association (800 4900; 04 2669989) www.cyberwebz.com/aaa for additional information.

Hertz
Green car rentals
Avis
Budget
Thrifty
National Car Rentals
Fast Rent A Car
Dollar Rent A Car
See also www.uaerentalcars.com

Driving

Emergency breakdown service
Contact your car hire company. The Arabian Automobile Association service centre (04 2858989) can also assist.

Accident reporting
Call traffic police on 999 and/or ambulance on 998. Wait for the police to arrive as it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident without police permission. And by law no vehicle can be accepted for repair without an accident report from the traffic police. The police will document all details and give each party, presuming another vehicle has been involved, a copy of the accident report.

Parking
As in most major cities, parking in the city centres is restricted but it is generally possible to find parking in bays or in multi-storey car parks. All the new shopping malls have extensive multi-storey parking lots.

Off-road
There are many kilometres of perfect road surfaces in the UAE, but it is always tempting to venture beyond the tarred surfaces. Most of the local tour companies organize off-road trips – probably the best way to explore if you are not familiar with off-road driving in desert conditions. Some tour operators also run courses in desert driving, a must if you are a novice.

In any case you will need to hire a 4-wheel drive if you intend to travel independently off the beaten track. Please keep to the tracks to avoid damaging the desert. Make sure that you have a tow rope and shovel, as well as plenty of water. If you get stuck, let some air out of your tyres, clear the sand from in front of the wheels and replace with mats, cardboard or dead branches. Rev the car slowly and get your passengers to push. It is advisable to travel with at least one other vehicle and a GPS and or mobile phone is always handy.

UAE Off-Road Explorer published by Explorer Publishing has satellite maps, GPS waypoints, safety hints etc which should make your trip a safe one.

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Distances from Abu Dhabi

Ajman 186 km
Al Ain 160 km
Dubai 166 km
Fujairah 292 km
Khor Fakkan 310 km
Ra’s al-Khaimah 256 km
Sharjah 176 km
Umm al-Qaiwain 206 km

Taxis

Taxis are readily available, offer an efficient, relatively inexpensive service and are really the best way to get around. They can be flagged down on the street, pre-booked by telephone or picked up outside your hotel. Taxi drivers are usually familiar with the main souqs, shopping centres, hotels and major landmarks. Most are metered in the major cities. The more upmarket Al Ghazal taxis must be pre-booked or picked-up outside one of the five-star hotels.

If your hotel is located outside the city, or you wish to take a taxi from your hotel to a destination outside the city, the concierge or doorman will give you an idea of average fares. But be aware of the expensive fixed-price taxis that operate from some of the larger hotels.

Taxi Service

Abu Dhabi

Al Ain

Al Arabia Taxi

+971 2 558 8099

-

Al Ghazal Express

+971 2 444 5885

+971 3 766 2020

Al Ghazal Taxis

+971 2 444 7787

+971 3 751 6565 

Cars Taxi

+971 2 551 6164

 -

National Taxi

971 2 555 2212

 -

National Transport Company (NTC)

+971 2 622 3300

 



Dubai Transport 04 2080808
Cars Taxi 04 2693344

 

Dubai Metro
In Dubai, the Metro has revolutionised access to the city and environs, from Rashadiya, beyond the airport, to Jebel Ali. There are two intersecting routes, the Green and Red lines. Streamlined air-conditioned stations are dotted along the routes with covered, air-conditioned access bridges spanning Sheikh Zayed Road, the main artery to the city centre. Driverless trains are highly efficient, have a section exclusively for women and children at the front and tickets are cheap. The Road Transport Authority’s rechargeable Nol farecards and single fare tickets can be used on the metro, buses and water taxis. The metro runs approximately every 8 minutes from 6 a.m. to midnight on Saturday through Thursday and 2 p.m. to midnight on Fridays. The timing of the last train varies from station to station and should be checked before departure.
There is a network of feeder buses in operation.

For more information on the metro and other forms of public transport in Dubai visit the RTA website.

Buses
Although most tourists travel by taxi, buses are a good alternative, as they are air-conditioned, clean and efficient. Minibuses (usually located near the main bus station) also travel to the same places as the larger buses.

Routes and bus numbers are posted in both Arabic and English. Passes, timetables and bus maps are available from the main bus stations or online.

WATER TAXIS

In Dubai, make sure that you take an abra ride across the Creek. Abras are small diesel-powered wooden boats that chug relentlessly from shore to shore, carrying commuters as well as tourists to their destinations along the bustling wharf. Seagulls whirl overhead and wooden dhows laden with goods steam to port. This is the very soul of the city.

The main abra dock on the Deira side of the Creek is at the intersection of Al Sabkha and Bani Yas Roads. Bur Dubai dock is located at the end of the souq, near the waterfront houses. Abras depart when full, which does not take long. Just hop on and the driver will take the fare of Dh1 as you cross.

You can also hire a private abra for a cruise along the creek. This will cost you approximately Dh35 to Dh50 for 30 minutes.
Dubai RTA has also introduced futuristic-looking air-conditioned water taxis to take you across the Creek or larger ferries for scenic cruises between the Creek and Dubai Marina.


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