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Transport in Dubai with a baby

March 8, 2013

Dubai used to be the city where you need a car but it was, and still is, a city where driving can be a terrifying prospect especially to tourists or newly arrived expats. Thankfully in the last few years Dubai’s public transport system and taxi service has improved and now there are several options for a baby to get around the city.

1. By car

It has to be said, if your mum and dad have their own wheels – this is the most convenient option for getting around. Unless you’re heading out to the old part of Dubai, parking is generally easy and plentiful. Just make sure your car seat is properly fitted and off you go. But bear in mind you will need to drive defensively if you are not used to driving in Dubai: expect a car to pull into that gap right in front of you and then brake sharply, expect the car in the next lane to swerve towards you while he checks his phone for emails and certainly do not expect anyone to signal.

Car hire companies in Dubai usually can provide a car seat for an additional charge but it makes sense to bring your own as most airlines allow you to bring it for free.  For protection, you can plastic wrap it at Dubai airport for AED 20 (about £3.50) and at Manchester, Gatwick or Heathrow for just a few pounds too.

2. By taxi

Dubai ladies taxiTaxis are plentiful in Dubai but the driving standards are variable and sometimes usually quite shocking. I would never ride in a taxi without a carseat but I know a lot of babies that do as it isn’t illegal here. Don’t be afraid to ask the driver to slow down or drive more carefully. The taxis with a pink roof are ‘Ladies taxis’ (although men can use them too if they are with the family)  these have a car seat that can be fitted in for you. If you call up Dubai Taxi you can request one or sometimes there will be one at the airport. The snag with this service is that Dubai Taxi won’t guarantee that they will be able to supply one which in practice is pretty useless if you need one. The best way round this is to have a pram that has a car seat attachment and make sure you know how it fits into a car with seatbelts. (Mum watched a Youtube video to learn how to do it properly). You can also hire a Dubai Taxi for 6 hours for AED 500 or 12 hours for AED 800. The number for Dubai Taxi is 04 208 0808.

3. Safedriver

With the Safedriver service  a driver comes out to you and drives you and your car home so there’s no lugging a carseat about when mum or dad might fancy a glass of wine. For popular times (like brunch kicking out time) make sure you book a day or so in advance as they get booked up quickly. The cost for one way usually works out about the same as getting a taxi there and back although there is a minimum charge of AED 120. Call 80072337 to book or enquire.

4. Metro

Dubai MetroThe Metro in Dubai is cheap, clean and efficient but is fairly limited in its destinations so although it’s fantastic to get to some locations it’s likely you’ll need to use other forms of transport too. There are plenty of lifts and it’s easy to get a stroller on and off the train, but best to avoid rush hour. The end carriage (next to Gold Class) is for Women and Children only. It’s great for getting to Dubai Marina, Mall of the Emirates and Downtown Dubai (for Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa) but doesn’t pass particularly near to a beach or Madinat for example. This link explains the fares and ticket system (you need a ‘Nol’ card -a bit like a prepaid Oyster card).

5. Bus

Dubai buses are fairly easy to get a stroller on and off, but if the bus is crowded you may not be allowed on unless it’s folded up.  Try and make your way down the bus to the stroller space near to the rear doors. Many of the bus stops have air conditioned waiting rooms which are essential if you’re using the buses in summer.  Don’t forget to buy a ticket before you get on – a prepaid ‘Nol’ card can be purchased from any Metro station or Spinneys supermarket. See here for further details.

6. Dubai Water Taxis

Dubai Water taxiThese are great fun and incredibly plush inside, similar to business class air travel. You pay for the whole boat up to 10 people and, like a regular taxi, you don’t share with strangers. It’s not so much for actually getting from one place to another, but fantastic for seeing Dubai by the water.

Getting a stroller on and off them can be a bit tricky but the crew are usually very helpful and will no doubt give you a hand. Make sure you pick a day when the sea is calm as it can get a bit choppy. Call up and book in advance – maybe even a day ahead for weekends. Here’s details of the tariff. You can get from the big flagpole in Jumeirah 1 (Jumeirah Open Beach) to Dubai Marina for AED 225 but that’s for up to 10 people, so not bad value if there’s a group of you.  Telephone: 8009090 for bookings and enquiries.

7. Bus tours

There are several open top bus companies in Dubai where you can hop on and off. These are aimed at tourists and can be a good way of getting around to see the main sights of Dubai in a short time.  You can buy 24 or 48 hour passes, but beware you may need to buy a separate pass for after 6pm. Some tickets include a boat trip down the Creek. See Big Bus Tour’s website for further information.

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3 Comments
  1. Jorgen permalink

    Great article! You should check out Careem. They provide car seats for babies. A little more expensive than normal taxi but the service and safety aspect is much better.

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  1. Getting around by bus in Dubai with a baby | Baby in the Sunshine

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