To Cab or Not to Cab?

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you’re probably already aware of my love / hate relationship with cab drivers in Dubai.

Dubai is not particularly pedestrian-friendly and cabs are the best way to travel around the city. They are relatively cheap and can be found outside hotels or hailed almost anywhere around the city. They’re regulated by the government and everything seems to run quite smoothly.  Ideally, it would have been great if I had a car but since it’s such a pain to get a driver’s license here; I have found it more convenient to turn towards cabs until I’m completely settled in here.

As you can imagine, I have been taking cabs much more than I would have liked to and I’m sick of it. There is a tiny part of me which feels guilty for complaining since the majority of the cab drivers I have come across are fellow Pakistanis but enough is enough.

There is, of course, a tiny portion of cab drivers that I love. They are the ones that are quiet, polite, and don’t tend to bother you unnecessarily. They are hard working, humble, and each and every one of them has a story to tell. I recently came across a cab driver whose entire family had been wiped out in the earthquake a few years ago in Pakistan and the tragedy drove him to Dubai just so he could earn some money to raise his younger brother. He was brave, determined, and it was truly a pleasure to have met him.

Then there are those who need to understand that driving a taxi is their full time occupation and that it’s necessary to keep a map with them at all times with some sense of direction.  Dubai is pretty simple and it’s not very difficult to understand the city’s logistics when compared to other cities and it shouldn’t be so difficult. Also, it’s great to know that your brother in law’s cousin lives in the same city I’m from in Pakistan but is it really necessary to turn around to make eye contact with me while risking our lives because of it? Let’s face it, Dubai is filled with Pakistanis and I’m sure that cab drivers get passengers on an hourly basis that are more than willing to chat and bond over our lovely nation so why must they want to exchange numbers with me?  

It’s only been a few weeks since I’ve arrived and I’m already sick of most of the cab drivers. I really need to sort out a license soon but I’ve been warned with hundreds of horror stories about the driving tests here. Is it really as hard as they say?!



  1. You have all my sympathies, OUH!!!

    My experience with the cabbies in Dubai was much worse when I was visiting a few weeks ago. In particular, one cab driver made ME call the cops and report another driver because he had cut our lane on Sheikh Zayed Road!!! I really didn’t care enough to call and complain on the poor guy but he got so angry that he called the cops from MY phone, shoved the cell phone in my hands, and even dictated what I should say to them. Unfortunately (or fortunately), he wasn’t a Pakistani or I would have thrown the cell phone towards him. He was an Arab and I freaked out listening to him swear in Arabic. It was so crude and I got so scared so I told the cops that I am doing just as I am told. While dropping me off, the cab driver asked me for my mobile number in case the cops called him and he needed my assistance and I was such an idiot and ended up giving my number to him!!! It was by far one of the most embarassing and disturbing experiences I’ve ever had so yes, OUH, SAY NO TO CABS!

  2. Oh yes!It is even harder on the road (the driving license test) than just listening to people say it and reading this.Having lived my whole life in Dubai and the capital city Abu Dhabi I know how strict they are when it comes to rules and not to forget how heavily are the fines payable!so WATCH OUT! but trying doesn’t hurt; does it? So make a go but remember Dubai has one of the world’s heaviest traffic due to being over-congested as people moving in from all over for a better standard of living.
    Seek Allah’s help in what ever you do and surely He will help you!:)

    Good Wishes for a safe and pleasant stay!!

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