Dubai Taxi
The RTA has changed the name on top of some taxis in Dubai to identify the person behind the wheel. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: ‘My friend, sadiq, bhai, boss, chief, pal, mate, mister’ — we call them by these generic names but they remain nameless. They are the taxi drivers who bring us to airport, office, school, mall, grocery or any other destination.

Globally, taxi drivers lack a sense of identity, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) noted. In an endearing effort to honour and identify the person behind the wheel, the RTA has recently launched an initiative called #WhosYourCabbie. The RTA has changed the name on top of some taxis in Dubai to identify the person behind the wheel.

Instead of the word taxi on the top of the car, the signage has been changed to Walid, Samir, Asif, Ahmed, Kumar, Salim, Joe, Iqbal, Afzal, George, Afzal, Adil, Shameer, Zaman or whoever is driving the cab.

RTA said the campaign is dedicated to Dubai’s taxi drivers. “To the heroes who are with us in every journey, the heroes who kept #Dubai moving in the toughest times, and the heroes who add life to our streets every day; we’re proud of you, we know you, and we appreciate all that you do #WhosYourCabbie,” the RTA tweeted on Thursday.

‘Taxi’ has a name

In the two-minute video posted by RTA, it noted cabbies are called ‘Sir, boss, mister, hello, or the eponymous term ‘taxi’. But when we all became faceless citizens (wearing masks during the pandemic), taxi drivers became heroes to us all. As our city stood still, they became our lifeline.”

In the same video, a taxi driver is heard saying: “A lot of customers ask me different questions, but they never asked my name. A passenger can also be heard saying: “I used to think ‘taxi’ is just another means of transportation.”

RTA commented: “Think about the people you meet every day, you always end up asking their names.” And this is the reason behind the campaign. What was once an impersonal taxi ride, can now become a journey shared by passengers and drivers. When inside the taxi and they talk about weather, food and Dubai; passengers need not ask but they will know who they are talking to.

With happy faces, the taxi drivers will feel pride and honour that passengers will finally get to know their names.