Car Rental vs. Public Transport
When planning a trip to Dubai for the first time, you’ll have to decide whether it’s better to move around on public transport or renting a car. Some assume because Dubai is all shiny and posh, renting a car would cost a fortune. That’s not all right.
Want to know the pro’s and con’s? Let me summarize the facts for you!
Pro’sFlexibility Obviously having your own car will allow you to stop by places spontaneously without relying on someone else. See more With your own car, you can take trips that are outside of the predefined routes of public transport. This way you will see much more of Dubai! Petrol is cheap In fact, it is very cheap! A full tank for a midsize car will cost you around USD 20. Time When you drive your own car you don’t have to rely on public transport time schedules. You also don’t waste time queuing for taxis. Cost In addition to the big international rental car companies (Hertz, Sixt, etc.), there are also plenty of local agencies. They are mostly reliable and offer great prices. Overall renting a car is fairly cheap.
Con’sTraffic Not only the traffic jams, but also the chaotic and aggressive driving of many people in Dubai can be very stressful if you are not used to it. Directions Many roads still don’t have road names (most drivers take landmarks as indications). Ongoing construction and roads changes might be confusing if you are not familiar with the city. Traffic Rules There are rules, but very often, no one cares. Dubai has plenty of speed cameras however that doesn’t stop people from speeding a lot. It is also allowed to overtake from the right (imagine this on a 8-lane highway). Parking & Salik Sometimes it feels like the municipality started building up houses and roads and then realized later that they forgot parking spots. There are simply not enough parking spaces and finding a spot can really be a pain.
Salik is Dubai’s toll system. There are 6 toll gates across the city and a charge of AED 5 will be added by the car company.
Pro’sIncreasing network Only in 2009 Dubai introduced the Metro (overland) and trams in parts of the city. Before that, it was non-existent. Both, metro and trams are very reliable and super clean.
Taxis are plenty and virtually everywhere and can be easily hailed from the sidewalks (apart from rush hours). There is also a bus network, traditional dhows along the Creek and water taxis along the coastline. Costs Taxis are cheap compared to European standards (AED 2 per kilometre), metro and tram prices start from AED 4 for a single trip.
Con’sNetwork Coverage The Dubai Metro has currently only two lines (green and red line) covering 47 stations. There is more in the planning as we approach Expo 2020, however for now that’s about it.
The Dubai Tram so far only operates in the Dubai Marina/ Jumeirah Beach Residence / Al Sufouh area with a total of 11 stops. You might still have to take taxis to navigate between the stops. Bear in mind that Dubai is really getting hot over the summer months, walking to/from the stations
is not an option like it is in other parts of the world. Taxi Driver I have to say things are getting better, however you need to be prepared that the taxi driver does not know the way to your destination. With the demand for taxis is steadily increasing, chances are high that your taxi driver just recently started his job and doesn’t know Dubai well, also considering the always changing road network in the city. Another important factor is that taxi drivers work very long hours, mostly 7 days a week and they work on commission basis. Meaning they are often overtired and in a rush hunting for the next customer. Walking and Cycling The city is not made for pedestrians and cyclists. Very often there are no pedestrian walkways and no cycling lanes.
Having your own vehicle is the best choice, mainly because of the flexibility and overall lower costs. This might change over the coming years when the public transport system is more developed.
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