One of the biggest worries about Dubai is getting around, the public transport service though comparable to developed or newly industrialized nations it is not well spread and doesn’t reach many parts of Dubai. Getting a taxi here used to be a nightmare and often taxi drivers are quite impolite (of course some are extremely nice) with Dubai’s economic issues and people leaving the city the taxi availability issues have reduced. Dubai is rolling out a state of the art mass rapid transit (MRT) and a bus network that would feed into the MRT, a time tested methodology used in other developed cities known as the fish-bone system. I really hope that the commuter woes would be eased once the metro (DURL) is operational on 9-9-9 at 9 am.
If you are on a visit visa and have an International driving license then you can get a temporary driving permit. There is plethora of rent car companies where you could rent from luxuries Rolls Royce to the matchbox sized Suzuki Altos. If you are a four-wheel fanatic welcome to the land of four wheelers and the choices you have are endless. But when you are renting a car a word of caution though, make sure that you carefully read the terms and conditions of the rent a car company, as many of them have hidden charges that mysteriously appear on the final bill! If you are here on resident visa then the things get a lot more complicated.
For those who hold the residence visa, the Dubai government accepts direct transfer of license from the following countries,
Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.
If you are license is not in English you would require a translation attested from your respective consulate.
If you are not from any of the above countries, you ought to be ready for a great deal of pain. Most of us who got our driving license have many ‘horror’ stories to share. I see this is partly because of the strict procedures RTA follows and partly because of the language barriers; I have come across very few RTA officers who speak fluent English.
If you have a driving license (from your home country) that is more than 2 years old you have to go through only 20 lessons to get to the final test, if it’s much newer or you didn’t have one when you arrived you have to go through 40 lessons. A driving license could cost you minimum 2500 AED (20 lessons) to 4000 AED (40 lessons) this would be a lot more depending on the number of times you retake your final test (Yes on average thrice!!). Every time you fail your final road test, you have to undergo additional 8 more lessons that would cost you 750 to 800 AED. Of course since you are immobile you need to add in the costs of taxi’s to get to the training centers and tests.