Dubai: Many commuters are using tricks to avoid the extra Dh20 fare which they must pay in addition to the metre fare if they take a taxi between Dubai and Sharjah.
One common trick is to hire a taxi up to the border between Dubai and Sharjah and change taxis. The favourite place to do this is the Sahara Centre, located right on the border of Sharjah and Dubai.
Commuters from Dubai take a taxi up to the Al Nahda area and get out close to the Sahara Centre, but on the Dubai side.
They pass through the fence and get into a Sharjah taxi to continue their journey within Sharjah.
Similarly, passengers travelling from Sharjah to Dubai get out of the taxi behind the Sahara Centre in the Sharjah area, walk across about 10 metres of sand on the border and get into a Dubai taxi. It enables them to save at least Dh20 on each trip.
Taxis on both sides are constantly lined up on the Sharjah-Dubai border near the Sahara Centre, Damascus Road and Beirut Road.
"It is a bit of a hassle but I don't mind changing the taxi at this point because it helps me save at least Dh40 to commute up and down," said Usha T, a salesperson. She said that the additional Dh20 for commuting between the neighbouring emirates is a rip-off and must be stopped immediately.
Mohammad Akram, a Pakistani office manager, said he lives in the Al Majaz area in Sharjah and has to go to his office in Bur Dubai.
"It costs me Dh28 including Dh8 to reach the Sahara Centre and another Dh18 to reach my office in Bur Dubai if I change the taxi, but it costs me around Dh48 ... [if] ... I take [a] direct taxi either way.
"I think it is a bit unfair to charge a Dh20 additional fare for taking the passengers to neighbouring emirates. This kind of unfair fare discourages me from taking a taxi," he added.
Many taxi drivers also suggest that the additional Dh20 fare be withdrawn as they believe it has affected their business badly, especially during the economic downturn when everybody is trying to saving money.
"We have already asked our company to look into the matter," said Jamil Khan, a Sharjah taxi driver.
Taxis in Dubai started charging Dh20 extra from passengers going to Sharjah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain in April last year after the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) introduced the Dh20 additional fare in response to a move by the Sharjah Transport Corporation to set starting taxi fares at Dh20 for passengers travelling from Sharjah to Dubai.
According to the RTA official, the starting fare has been increased as an incentive to taxi drivers who often refuse to take passengers from Dubai to Sharjah and vice-versa with the excuse that inter-emirates trips waste their time due to heavy traffic and badly affect their daily income targets.
However, passengers and taxi drivers now say the additional fare should be withdrawn because there are hardly any traffic jams between the emirates, especially after the expansion of Al Ittihad Road.
Have you tried this method before? Would you sacrifice convenience to save money? What tricks do you use to dodge the Dh20 charge? Tell us by clicking on the “Post a comment” link below.