Getting around Dubai: Comparing taxis, trains and personal cars

Whether behind the wheel of your own car, in the back seat of a taxi or squeezed into a busy metro train, the daily commute from home to the office is one of the most stressful and tedious trips of the day the world over. We look at the best options.
Three journalists from The National set out to determine which mode of transport - a car, a taxi, or a metro train - will get you around Dubai the fastest. Jaime Puebla / The National
Three journalists from The National set out to determine which mode of transport - a car, a taxi, or a metro train - will get you around Dubai the fastest. Jaime Puebla / The National

Dubai // Whether behind the wheel of your own car, in the back seat of a taxi or squeezed into a busy metro train, the daily commute from home to the office is one of the most stressful and tedious trips of the day the world over.

But how does the price of a ticket for straphangers on Dubai’s shiny new metro compare to people riding New York’s 110-year-old subway system?

Does the car journey from one of the emirate’s newly built high-rise neighbourhoods cost the same in petrol as an office worker’s daily drive through the streets of Mumbai?

And do cabbies in London charge as much per kilometre as the cost of a taxi trip from Discovery Gardens to Dubai airport?

We wanted to see not only how much the commute costs when compared with other countries, but also how the various modes of transport available compare in terms of comfort and time of journey.

We arranged for three reporters to take a cab, metro and a private car from one end of the city to the other.

Setting off at exactly 9.12am, they had vastly different experiences.

While travelling by metro was by far the cheapest, it was also the most time consuming and crowded.

Taking a cab turned out to be the most comfortable experience and the quickest, but it was also by far the most expensive.

Driving your own car appeared to strike the right balance between time spent travelling and affordability, but it was also the most stressful, with busy roads and other drivers to contend with.

It is clear that while public transport such as the metro is affordable and popular, there needs to be improvements in space for passengers and speed before it becomes everyone’s number-one choice.

The number of people travelling on Dubai’s Metro reached 40 million in the first three months of this year. Trains on the red line made 30,400 journeys, those on the green line 23,876.

This is comparable with the number of people making taxi journeys. The Roads and Transport Authority says there were just over 26 million taxi journeys between January and March, carrying 45 million passengers.

As many as 10,000 private cars use Sheikh Zayed Road between Dubai and Abu Dhabi each day.

With the population of Dubai expected to swell to 2.8 million by 2020, up from 2.1 million in 2012, the need to get more people on to public transport has never been greater.

mcroucher@thenational.ae

Published: May 3, 2014 04:00 AM

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