More than 27 million Dubai taxi rides made in first three months of 2023

Latest figures surpass number of journeys made in 2019, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic

Dubai taxi passenger numbers continue to rise. Pawan Singh / The National
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More than 27 million taxi journeys were made in Dubai in the first three months of 2023 – up one million from the same period last year.

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority said on Monday that the latest figures underlined the sector's “remarkable growth” over the past five years.

The sharp rise comes amid a population boom in Dubai and a concerted push by authorities to encourage the use of mass transport to help cut congestion and emissions.

The number of taxi rides recorded in the first quarter of the year was the largest since 2019, before the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The RTA said 27.3 million trips were taken from January to the end of March, up from 26 million last year.

The statistics show 19.2 million journeys were made in the same period in 2021, 23.3 million in 2020 and 26.1 million in 2019.

“Dubai's taxi sector has seen a remarkable growth trajectory over the past five years,” said Adel Shakri, Director of Planning and Business Development at the RTA.

“This sector experienced an unprecedented surge, marking its highest growth in recent years, particularly e-hail services, smart rental services, and Hala Taxi service. The analysis of figures and ratios of the sector during the first quarter of 2023 reflects the thriving economy of Dubai, which cemented its standing as a prominent global hub for investment and tourism.”

The RTA regularly hosts recruitment drives for taxi drivers to help meet growing demand.

Hundreds of hopefuls turned out at an open day held at Abu Hail last month.

RTA recruiters hosted walk-in interviews for applicants, and there was no shortage of interest in driving positions with a monthly salary of up to Dh5,000.

Public transport thrives as population grows

Dubai's population crossed 3.5 million in April last year and has grown by another 78,000 since, according to the Dubai Statistics Centre's live population counter.

The year-on-year increase in taxi rides is particularly impressive given that Expo 2020 Dubai – which concluded on March 31 last year – enjoyed a spike in visitors in its final months, many of whom will have used public transport to get to the world's fair.

The Museum of the Future, which opened in February last year, also proved a major attraction during the period.

The public transport sector on the whole continues to grow in popularity.

More than 621 million journeys were made on Dubai public transport in 2022 – an increase of 35 per cent from the previous year.

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority said an average of 1.7 million trips were made each day last year – up from 1.3 million in 2021 and almost double the 948,000 journeys made in 2020, during the height of the pandemic.

Dubai Metro, with 36 per cent of all trips, surpassed taxis on 30 per cent as the most popular mode of transport, ahead of public buses on 25 per cent.

The figures cover taxis, metro and tram services, buses and marine transport, such as water taxis and abras, and shared mobility, such as e-hail, smart car rentals and bus-on-demand services.

Mattar Al Tayer, Director General of the authority, said the figures were “a good indicator” of a shift towards mass public transport.

Updated: May 29, 2023, 5:28 PM