Dubai: Commuters in need of a taxi in Dubai may book a cab and track its location in real-time using their smartphones beginning next week, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said on Saturday.

The initiative is part of a new package of smart services provided to smartphone users in the emirate that will be unveiled by RTA at the Gitex Technology Week on Sunday (October 20). The move comes under the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in migrating from the e-Government to the smart Government platform, offering services through smartphones 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Among the key services to be unleashed by the RTA in Gitex 2013 is the Smart Taxi Service, as the latest, highly innovative smart application considered the first of its type, enabling clients to book taxis and directly track their path until their arrival in a real-time exercise,” said Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of RTA.

“The application has a set of unique features and characteristics unprecedented in the Middle East, providing residents, tourists and visitors of Dubai using the taxi booking service the possibility of booking a taxi by a single click of a button at any time and from any location,” he added.

The new app (Smart Taxi) operates on various smartphones such as iPhone, Blackberry, Windows 8, and Android-based smartphones. The application works just like any smartphone app and covers all the more than 8,500 cabs in Dubai. Newcomers to Dubai will find the application useful as it automatically picks up their location when they book a taxi. This helps the public as there is no longer the need to write details and data “that is in many cases difficult to write for the elderly and newcomers to Dubai or even those who experience vehicle breakdown in an unfamiliar place”, Al Tayer said.

Once a booking is made, the cab nearest to the location of the passenger will automatically be deployed.