I always assumed that Uber drivers are freelancers who drive their own car for an extra money on the side. Atleast that’s true in the case of India and elsewhere. I was taken by surprise that Uber taxis are also regulated by RTA in Dubai. Conversations with a Uber taxi driver in Dubai revealed the extent of regulations under which Uber operates in Dubai.
- Uber X taxis are not really owned by the taxi drivers.
- Uber X taxis are owned by Tourism companies who hire drivers to work for them for 10-11 hours a day
- Uber X drivers get a salary of AED3500 per month with accommodation and typically drive for AED8000-12000 per month
The Uber X drivers are well trained to behave courteously with the customers unlike the RTA taxis who frown at people for taking shorter rides and expect all rides to go all the way across Dubai! And they provide free water bottles plus the taxis are super clean. All Uber X taxis rolling out recently are Toyota Fortuner. Weekly, 5-10 new Uber X Toyota Fortuner taxis are hitting the road.
One important benefit that the Uber Taxis have over Abu Dhabi Silver Taxis or the Dubai RTA is that they are allowed to pick up people from any of the Emirates. That is, a driver from Dubai can pickup someone from Abu Dhabi if they are in the vicinity and got booked through the app.
For the uninitiated, taxis from one Emirate are not allowed to pickup passengers from another Emirate, even if that means the taxis just travel empty for 100+ kilometers. For example, Taxis from Dubai can only drop passengers in Abu Dhabi, but cannot pickup anyone at Abu Dhabi and have to return empty all the way from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. The waste of fuel and costs to the environment is appalling.
Back to topic, Uber! Uber X taxis are slightly costlier than the RTA taxis when Surge pricing is not applied. (Updated)
Update: Uber offers AED60 as bonus for new users who sign up using the promo code from existing members. I got the following code from Uber which others can use to avail the AED60 bonus:
Full disclosure: Apparently, Uber also gives me bonus credit when someone uses my code to signup.