Getting around Abu Dhabi on regular public transport is not always easy for visitors to the city.
There is no metro system in the capital, and whilst buses are relatively frequent, standing out in the hot sun, especially during the warmer months, is not conducive to a good holiday.
Transfer times by bus are long as the driver weaves in and out of residential areas, stopping to pick up passengers along the way. Taxis can therefore be a much more convenient transport alternative in Abu Dhabi, especially as they are quite cheap and easy to find compared to much of the world.
In this transport guide, we will take you through everything you need to know about getting a taxi in Abu Dhabi.
How to Get Around Abu Dhabi By Taxi
All of Abu Dhabi’s public taxis have a silver livery and a yellow roof sign. There are different companies with different logos, but they all work together under the government-regulated Integrated Transport Centre.
Taxis can be found at malls and at most major landmarks. There are usually a few loitering outside stand-alone hotels, and some areas, like Yas Plaza, have their own taxi ranks. If you’re staying in a hotel, your hotel concierge can easily book you a taxi, or hail one for you outside.
Hailing a taxi in Abu Dhabi is like flagging down a yellow cab in New York, just wave your arm and try to make eye contact with the driver; if the driver is free, he will pull up or indicate where it is safe for him to do so.
If there is a small red light on the roof sign, this means the taxi already has a passenger or is pre-booked.
How to Order a Taxi in Abu Dhabi
To book a taxi in Abu Dhabi, you should call the centre for integrated transport on 600 53 53 53.
Upon calling this number you will go through to an automated service but do have the option of speaking to an operator. Alternatively, you can book a taxi online using the Abu Dhabi Taxi App, which you can download below:
Using the app has many advantages. You can drop a pin to show your driver exactly where you want picking up as well as being able to track your driver’s progress. You also have a record of the Taxi driver’s name and number should you leave something inside the cab when you get out.
Abu Dhabi Taxi Fares
Here are the current charges applied to a fare in a public taxi in Abu Dhabi:
|Day rate AM to PM||Night Rate (10:00 PM to 6:00 AM)|
|Flagfall||AED 5.00||AED 5.50|
|Per KM||AED 1.82||AED 1.82|
|Standing||AED 0.50 per minute||AED 0.50 per minute|
|Extras||AED 4.00 for pre-booking||AED 5.00 for pre-booking|
Note that you should pay either a flag-fall or booking fee, not both. The minimum fare is AED 12, so even if you’re going a few blocks, you will be expected to pay AED 12 (that’s about €3 or a little over $3 USD).
Whilst it is possible to pay for some taxis via the Abu Dhabi Taxi App, most Taxi Drivers prefer cash, and what’s more, they prefer the correct amount. Most taxi drivers do not carry a lot of change, so it can be awkward if you pay with a big note (which is, unfortunately, all you seem to get at ATMs in the UAE!).
If you do tip your driver, rounding up to the ‘next note’ is usually graciously accepted. Do not feel obliged to tip, though, especially if you were less than happy with your overall experience.
If you want to pay for your taxi by credit card, you will need to have the Abu Dhabi Taxi App installed on your phone; you must be travelling in a taxi with a new ‘blue’ meter (as opposed to the old ‘Orange’ meters). You must also have a phone signal and mobile data or wi-fi enabled.
It’s always best to have enough money in your pocket to cover your taxi fare, just in case something goes wrong. There is no way of telling until you get into the cab what sort of meter is in use, so always check for taking off.
Alternatives to Taxis in Abu Dhabi
Like much of the world, Abu Dhabi has ride-sharing alternatives to taxis. The main players are Uber and Careem (the home-grown equivalent).
Both offer a variety of cars, including executive cars and cars with child safety seats.
Uber and Careem do usually work out more expensive than taxis in Abu Dhabi, but it is helpful to have the apps loaded on your phone in case you want to arrive somewhere in style, when no public taxis are available, or you are travelling with young children and want a service with car seats.
Special Taxis From Abu Dhabi Airport
Abu Dhabi airport has its own fleet of shiny black people carriers – perfect for the airport to accommodate commuting with all your luggage!
Follow the signs in the Arrivals Hall to the Taxi rank just outside. You rarely have to wait more than a few minutes, and plenty of porters are around to help with heavy luggage.
These taxis do cost fractionally more than the silver taxis, but they are very comfortable and convenient. A trip from the airport to downtown Abu Dhabi costs in the region of AED 100, depending on the time of day, with a minimum fare of AED 25.
Airport taxis are able to accept various currencies and credit cards. For more details on airport taxis, click here.
More FAQs on Taxis in Abu Dhabi
Taxis in Abu Dhabi are very safe, and taxi drivers in Abu Dhabi have long had a reputation for being honest. All taxis are fitted with security cameras. Always remember to ask for a receipt when you pay the taxi driver. That way, if you leave anything in the taxi when you get out, you will have a record of the taxi number and can contact the driver.
Ladies and families can request a family taxi which are generally larger vehicles with a female driver. Most family taxis carry child seats in the boot, but they are not always age appropriate.
Since 2017, all children under the age of 4 are required by law to travel in a child safety seat, so if you need one, we recommend calling 600 53 53 53 to book your taxi and make sure that they know that you need a car seat.
Alternatively, Uber and Careem both offer child safety seats for an additional fee via their apps.
All public taxis in Abu Dhabi are fitted with a meter that drivers must use. You will not find marked taxis trying to rip tourists off.
Taxi drivers do prefer cash, but it is possible to pay by credit card using the Abu Dhabi Taxi App (provided that the taxi has one of the newer ‘blue’ meters fitted).
It is true! The driverless taxis only currently operate in designated loops as part of the Smart Mobility Project and are restricted to Yas Island and Saadiyat Island. Whilst TXAI does not have a driver, there is an onboard safety officer for the public’s peace of mind.
You may need to wait a little longer for a taxi during rush hours, from 7.30 until 9.00 AM. Taxis may also be a little harder to find around 5.00 PM. You might also have to wait during big events like the Grand Prix or large concerts at the Etihad Arena, or returning from Abu Dhabi airport after a long public holiday weekend.
Yes, Abu Dhabi taxis are allowed to cross the border into Dubai and other emirates, and vice versa.
If you are catching a taxi to Dubai Marina from Downtown, expect to pay in the vicinity of AED 200 – 250. A trip all the way to DXB airport, which is on the other side of the city, is more like AED 300 – 400.
There are much cheaper alternative methods to get from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, but a taxi remains the quickest and most convenient for door-to-door.
Further Transport Options in Abu Dhabi
- If you want to take the public bus in Abu Dhabi or perhaps even hire a car in Abu Dhabi, there’s loads more information about getting around Abu Dhabi on our dedicated transport page, click here to find out more.
Before you go… Important things to consider planning a trip to Abu Dhabi
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Abu Dhabi, a handy guide on what to pack as well as top tips for first-timers on the dos and don’ts, laws, and customs in the UAE.
- Check the most up-to-date COVID entry rules for Abu Dhabi.
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!
- Discover the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our hotel or tour recommendation links.Abu Dhabi Travel Planner