Sunday, February 8, 2009

Driving in Dubai-All the information you need


The Dubai Municipality (04 2859401) operates a public bus service, running from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Three types of bus pass are available, offering travel up to a fixed cost, monthly travel on one side of the creek, or monthly travel throughout the city. Both the routes and the bus numbers are displayed in Arabic and English. Passes, timetables and bus maps are available from the main bus stations at Bur Dubai on Al Ghubaiba Rd and in Deira near the Gold Souq. Bus maps and timetables can be viewed on line on the Dubai Municipality website,

Intercity buses operate within Dubai and depart every hour for Hatta and twice a day for Muscat, Oman (5-6 hours). Inter-emirate travel is run by Dubai Transport minibuses, however you can only pick these up in Dubai. Telephone 04 2273840, for services to the Northern Emirates, or 04 3937014, for Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

Taxis are plentiful and relatively inexpensive.Dubai has a taxi fleet of around 5,000, so it is pretty easy to flag one down or order one to come and pick you up wherever you are. You can flag a taxi down on the street, or book by telephone. The official, cream coloured taxis are metered and therefore usually cheaper, but the majority of other taxis in Dubai do not have meters and you must expect to haggle for a good price before beginning your trip.

Taxi contacts:
Dubai Transport 04 2080808
Cars Taxi 04 2693344
Golden Taxi 04 3365444
Gulf Radio Taxi 04 2236666
National Taxi 04 3366611

Car prices are generally lower than they are in other countries. Car pooling has not really taken off here and most street side parking in Dubai is now governed by parking meters.

Parking Cards
There are several different ways of purchasing pre-paid parking cards. The first way is through the post office where you can get pay-as-you-go parking card and alternatively, you can buy a card from Dubai Municipality that can be used an unlimited amount over a period of time but parking cards restrict you to off-street parking in designated areas.

Vehicle Leasing
Many people find that they have no other option (due to visa requirements) than to lease a vehicle. Most leasing companies include the following in their rates: registration, maintenance, replacement, 24 hour assistance and insurance. Leasing is generally weekly, monthly or yearly. You will need to provide a passport copy, credit card and a valid driving licence (either your Dubai licence, your licence from your home country, or a valid international licence).

Buying a Vehicle
You must have a residence visa in order to own a car. Most insurance policies cover multiple drivers (as long as they have a valid UAE driving licence, either temporary or permanent).

New Vehicles
Most of the major car makes are available through franchised dealership in Dubai.

Used Vehicles
One of the biggest used-car dealers in Dubai is
4x4 Motors (
Al Futtaim Automall (,
Off Road Motors (3384866),
Jumeirah Motors (next to the Mazaya Centre on Sheikh Zayed Road),
Western Auto (branches at Al Awir and Deira),
Target Auto (near Mazaya Centre),
House of Cars (Sheikh Zayed Road),
and Sun City Motors (branches near the airport,
Al Awir, and Sheikh Zayed Road).
Al Awir is also home to Golden Bell Auctions (

The Gulf News and Khaleej Times classifieds sections are a good starting place for second-hand cars.

Ownership Transfer
To register a second-hand car in your name you must transfer vehicle ownership. You will need to submit an application form, the valid registration card, the insurance certificate, the original licence plates and Dhs.20 to the Traffic Police, plus an NOC from the finance company, if applicable.

Vehicle Finance
Many new and second-hand car dealers will be able to arrange finance for you, often through a deal with their preferred banking partner.

Vehicle Import
A requirement for cars imported by individuals or private car showrooms that were manufactured after 1997/98 is an NOC from the official agent in the UAE or from the Ministry of Finance and industry (if no official agent exists).

Vehicle Insurance
Before you register your car must have adequate insurance, and there are many insurance companies to choose from in Dubai. The insurers will need to know the usual details such as year of manufacture, and value, as well as the chasis number.The rates generally4 - 7% of personal accident insurance is highly advisable.

Registering a Vehicle
All cars must be registered annually with the Traffic Police. There is a one-month grace period after your registration has expired in which to have your car re-registered (hence the 13 month insurance period), but after that you'll face a Dhs.110 fine for each year the registration has expired.

The Process
In order to get licence plates for the vehicle, the car must first be tested, then registered with the website - - Dubai Traffic Police . Ras Al Khor boasts a five-lane testing centre (Al Ghandi) that is run in conjunction with the Traffic Police. EPPCO and Emarat offer a full registration service for a fee, and registering it, and delivering it back to you all in the same day. EPPCO Tasjeel (2673940) offers a service called Al Sayara. Emarat (3434444) has five full registration and vehicle testing service centres (called Shamil).

Traffic Fines & Offences
If you are caught driving or parking illegally you will be fined unless the offence is more serious, in which case you may be brought before the courts. You can also be fined Dhs.50 on the spot for being caught driving without your licence, so always keep it with you, along with your vehicle's registration card. You can check though, either by calling the Dubai Traffic Police Information Line (2685555) or by visiting their website ( You can also pay online using your credit card but this service includes a small service charge.

In the even of a breakdown, you will usually find that passing police cars stop to help, or at least to check your documents. It is important that you keep water in your car at all times . The Arabian Automobile Association (AAA) (2669989 or 800 4900, offers a 24 hour roadside breakdown service for an annual charge. The more advanced service includes off-road recovery, vehicle registration and a rent a car service. Other breakdown services who'll be able to help you out without membership include IATC (although they do offer annual membership also), Dubai Auto Towing Services and AKT Recovery.

Traffic Accidents
If you are involved in an accident, in serious cases dial 999 or in less critical cases, call the police in Deira (266 0555), Bur Dubai (398 1111), or Sharjah (06 538 1111). The Dubai Traffic Police Information Line (268 5555, Arabic & English) gives the numbers of police stations around the emirate.

Black Points
In addition to a system of fines for certain offences, a black points penalty system operates. Your licence is revoked and you have to start the whole process of getting your licence from the beginning. If you do something serious, such as run a red light, your licence can be taken away immediately. However, the rules are somewhat ambiguous, and erratically applied.

Repairs (Vehicle)
By law, no vehicle can be accepted for major 'collision' repairs without an accident report from the Traffic Police, although very minor dents can be repaired without a report. Your insurance company will usually have an agreement with a particular garage to which they will refer you. If your car is in need of attention then the authorized dealer may be the best place to start .

1 comment:

  1. Nice useful information about Dubai. I am bookmarking your site.