Thursday, January 12, 2006

Bye bye taxi

According to Emirates Today, private taxis in Abu Dhabi will soon be phased out, to be replaced by more "upscale" taxis that are better maintained, and that will also charge around 3 times the fare of the private taxis, if not more.

Call me sentimental, but I feel like this will be the beginning of the end of the old Abu Dhabi I know, the Abu Dhabi of my youth, the Abu Dhabi of my adolescent years. Although I admit that A-D is in dire need of cleaner, less smelly taxis, I cannot help but think that the city will not be the same again without the gold and white cars roaming its streets.

See, for me, taxis meant freedom (back in the days when I lived here and did not have my own car). My father did not allow us to take taxis until we were well into our teenage years. When I was in high school, we looked up to people who were the same age as us, and who were allowed to ride in taxis alone. My first ever parentless taxi-ride was with some high school girlfriends. We would often have fun during those rides, we were excited and somewhat rowdy. I remember one funny occasion when we hailed a taxi, my friend opened the door, and closed it right back. We asked her why she had done that, she said that once she opened the door, she got a whiff of a rather unpleasant smell and decided she did not want to go through that. So we hailed another one.

We could go from one end of the city to the other for less than 5 dhs. We could get a cab practically anywhere and anytime. We could bargain with the taxi driver to let 5 of us squeeze into his car...All this to say, A-D taxis play an integral part of my memories while growing up here.

I am gonna miss seeing those darn taxis.


Al Ain Taxi said...

Eeeek! That means no more Al Ain taxis!

Dubai Sunshine said...

Hehe...I hadn't realised that Al Ain taxis were the same as A-D taxis. The article did not mention when this would take place though. Some taxi drivers and taxi owners still claim that this is just a rumour, and that our gold and white taxis are here to stay.

moryarti said...

Oh no... whenever i have any business to do in Abu Dhabi, i park my car in Abu Dhabi mall and do everything using cabs.

Those cabbies are great.. they are inexpensive, they know the place inside out ... and their conversations could be really entertaining (sometimes).

Hope they don't take em away.

Keefieboy said...

Progress innit. When I first arrived in Dubai 13 years ago, they had unmetered privately-owned taxis. It was ok. But then Dubai Transport Corporation The Magnificent arrived on the scene, with a fleet of Mercs, drivers in uniform and meters! And truly appalling terms and conditions for the drivers that continue to this day.

I'm surprised it has taken Abu Dhabi so long to catch up!

Dubai Sunshine said...

Keefie...yes...I remember those taxis in Dubai too! Abu Dhabi is a few years behind Dubai with everything...I expect A-D to become a charmless, building infested, car crazy, work addicted kind of a city in a few years, just like Dubai.

Moryarti, those cabbies ARE very entertaining. We used to always ask them to play our favourite tapes, and they would oblige very kindly.

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