Dubai: For a group of young Canadian tourists a routine taxi ride turned into a nightmare on Tuesday, as the driver of the taxi they hopped into initially refused to drive, spoke rudely and took a longer route, for what should have been a short journey.

The customers took the taxi at the Dubai Mall at around 11.30pm and were headed for Chelsea Tower on Shaikh Zayed Road, which in reality is not more than a 10-minute trip or less then three kilometres.

Surprisingly, the trip which should have cost them around Dh10 went up to Dh39 and what was supposed to be a five- to 10-minute drive took much longer.

The tourists — two sisters, a cousin and her two children — were shocked and didn’t know how to react.

“We were really shocked, our children were so scared. As soon as we got down from the taxi we ran to our rooms. We had heard such good things about Dubai and this was least expected. The taxi driver was so rude, he first refused to take us, then when the mall official forced him, he was swearing and driving rashly, it was really scary,” said Faiqa Ahmad, one of the passengers.

Ahmad alleges that the cabbie behaved in the way he did because he wasn’t willing to go on a short trip.

“He was quiet when we entered the taxi, but when I told him the destination he refused to go and went out of the vehicle shouting,” Ahmad told Gulf News.

Though the tourists didn’t know how to lodge a complaint with the authorities, one of them quickly took a picture of the taxi from behind and sent the taxi registration number to Gulf News.

When contacted, the CEO of Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC), Yousuf Al Ali, said he will look into the matter and take necessary action.

“It is really unfortunate that the tourists had to go through such a situation. We will definitely investigate the matter and if found guilty we will take severe action against the driver so that nobody behaves in such a way,” said Al Ali.

He said according to the charges, the cabbie has committed multiple offences, which include refusing a passenger, misbehaving and rash driving as well as overcharging.

The penalty for refusing a passenger is deduction of Dh200 from his daily income and the driver could even face a suspension if proven guilty of all the charges. At 1.7 complaints per 100,000 kilometres, Al Ali claimed that the number of complaints have come down due to strict measures employed by RTA.

Al Ali urged customers to file complaints immediately if they come across any problems.