Dubai: Booking a taxi in Dubai is now as easy as shaking a mobile phone after the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) launched the Smart Taxi app on Tuesday.

The new mobile application that went live on the Android platform on Tuesday allows a person to open the app and just shake the phone to book the taxi.

Dubai Smart Taxi app is part of RTA’s initiatives to offer smart solutions to people, following the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform the Dubai into a smart city.

“As one of the key government organisations, [the] RTA is keen on implementing smart solutions as part of our endeavour to support Dubai’s drive to transform into a smart city. Smart mobility is one of the main pillars of the smart city initiative and the smart taxi app is one of the important solutions in this regard,” said Abdullah Al Madani, CEO of RTA’s Corporate Support Services Sector.

To avail of the instant booking feature, passengers can simply download the ‘Dubai Smart Taxi’ app and log in. Once logged in, people can just open the app anytime they want a taxi and shake the smart phone.

“When a person shakes his mobile, the app will locate the customer’s location and sends an instant message to the nearest taxi driver. The system then sends a SMS back to the customer confirming the booking. The passenger will also receive details like the name and phone number of the taxi driver,” said Adel Shakeri, Director of Transportation Systems at RTA’s Public Transport Agency.

Alternatively, passengers can also book a taxi through the app by manually sending the message.

Interestingly, the application allows the customers to monitor the booking, track the movement of taxi and when travelling on the taxi, look for the shortest route.

Passengers can also give their feedback about the service and rate the driver through the app.

“This is the smartest and the best way to book a taxi as this will reduce time taken by customers to call the dispatch centre and connect the customers directly with the nearest driver. This will also save people’s money on the calling and the routes selected by taxi,” said Dr Yousuf Al Ali, CEO of RTA’s Public Transport Agency.

However, he added that those who would still like to make calls to book a taxi could continue to do so.

The app will go live on Apple’s App Store next week, while it will be available on other platforms in the next coming weeks.

The system is integrated with all the 8,997 vehicles operated by all the five taxi franchises.

As part of the smart city initiatives, RTA is also integrating Nol payment system with taxis while more than 200 other services are also being designed to be available on mobile by the end of 2015.

“All agencies and sectors of the RTA are moving ahead towards the optimal implementation of smart services with a view to delivering an array of accessible services for all community segments enabling them to benefit from RTA’s service offering represented in taxi and public transport services as well as other services on offer,” said Ahmad Hashem Behroozian, CEO of the RTA’s Licensing Agency.

Al Ali said demand for taxis had doubled over the last couple of years and added that RTA is expanding the fleet gradually and upgrading the system for the convenience of customers.

Last year, taxis in Dubai clocked 100 million trips, carrying 175 million passengers.