Travelling around Dubai in a London cab

KT photo/M. Sajjad
KT photo/M. Sajjad

Dubai - The Dubai Taxi Corporation started trialling the seven-seater taxi from February and the service is available at the Dubai International Airport.


James Jose

Published: Fri 6 Aug 2021, 2:31 PM

Last updated: Fri 6 Aug 2021, 3:58 PM

Anyone who has been to London, apart from soaking in the sights of England’s capital, would have most certainly hopped into the iconic London Taxi. But if you have not, you wouldn’t have to make that long-haul trip from Dubai to London to experience the ride. You can get it right here in Dubai.

The London Taxi, which is characterised by a semi-curved shape and black colour that mimics the iconic London Cab operating in the British capital, is operational in Dubai.

The Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC) had started trialling the seven-seater vehicle from February, and the service is available at the Dubai International Airport at the moment.

Khaleej Times had the opportunity to get an exclusive sneak peek of the iconic car, and also get a ride along the picturesque skyline of Dubai.

Our chauffeur Mohammed Zubair bin Abdulaziz from Pakistan, is the first and only London cab driver in Dubai, and he was more than delighted to take us along.

We left the DTC headquarters in Muhaisnah, and our destination was Downtown Dubai, and none other than the iconic landmark — the Burj Khalifa.

We passed the long Dubai Airport Tunnel, and along the way, we stopped for a quick pitstop to refuel. This London Taxi is a hybrid version and runs on both electricity and fuel, with a tank capacity of 35 litres.

Once that was done, we were onto the Al Garhoud Bridge, and then we came across the iconic Dubai Frame that separates old and new Dubai and another vital landmark — the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Then, it was onto Sheikh Zayed Road, and the views were amazing from the panoramic glass roof installed in the cab. But the best was yet to come. We headed into Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard in Downtown Dubai and reached the Dubai Fountain at the foot of the Burj Khalifa. And it was quite a sight! And stepping out of the cab to get an even better view, it looked so in sync to watch the iconic London Taxi right at the doorstep of the Burj Khalifa.

Right through the ride from DTC to the Burj Khalifa and back, we struck up a conversation with Zubair, who said he was proud and happy to be the first and the only London Taxi driver in Dubai.

“It is very nice to be the first London Taxi driver in Dubai. I feel very proud and very happy to be the first London Taxi driver in Dubai. And I would like to thank DTC for giving me this opportunity. I enjoy driving this taxi,” said Zubair.

When asked which is the best part of Dubai he likes to drive, he replied: “I like to drive in the Downtown area, which is a very famous area in Dubai, especially the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard. I also like driving in one of the most historical places in Dubai, which is the Sheikh Zayed Road. The guests who have travelled in this cab love seeing the Dubai skyline along the Sheikh Zayed Road, from the panoramic roof in the car.”

Currently, only one London Taxi is operational, and Zubair was picked by the DTC on the back of his experience and after meeting certain criteria.

“I’ve been working with the DTC since 2008. We have certain criteria to drive this taxi, and they selected me based on my experience and the work that I put in over the years,” Zubair revealed.

Also, knowing all the routes in Dubai and its important landmarks is a plus point.

“Before becoming a taxi driver, we undergo training from the RTA where we learn about every route in Dubai, especially the important landmarks,” he said.

Zubair, who has made approximately 1800 trips since the cab was put into service in February, said a couple of Londoners were surprised to witness the famous taxi in Dubai.

“Right now, we are operating this car from the Dubai International Airport, and some Londoners were surprised and excited by the London Taxi here in Dubai, and they said that they felt like home,” Zubair said.

Signing off, Zubair hoped to get the chance to visit London and perhaps get an opportunity to drive the actual London Cab.

“I’ve never been to London, but I’m hoping I can visit London someday and also see the London Taxi. The London Taxi has a rich history. If I get the opportunity to go to London, I would love to drive a London Taxi there,” he said.

The trip would have approximately cost about Dh150, but suffice to say, it was priceless, and we returned with some good memories.

London Taxi features:

>> Seven-seater car

>> Two reverse doors, rather than the conventional doors, for passenger entry

>> Six seats in the cabin, no seat beside the driver

>> Design serves the needs of people of determination

>> Protective glass between driver and passenger cabin

>> Roomy interior and a panoramic glass roof

>> Two-way communication between driver and passenger at the press of a button

>> Touch screen for controlling the air conditioning

>> Fitted with satellite-based navigation, voice command, forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring and lane departure warning systems, in addition to a Wi-Fi network

>> Dual engine for better control of the vehicle under different climate conditions

>> Accelerated braking system and a battery that just needs 30 minutes to recharge using the fast charging feature, and three hours using the regular charging one

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