Dubai Transport, Dubai Taxis and Salik data


I started looking at some numbers reported in the press about the increased use of public transport in Dubai.


7days reported that “367 million journeys were made in 2012” compared to 346.5 million in 2011 across all forms of public transport (buses, water taxis, metro and road taxis)

Khaleej Times on the other hand, reported that “367.567 million passengers used public transport in 2012” compared to “21.157 million in 2011”

The difference between passenger and journey is important, as another 7days article in July of 2012 reported on the statistics during H1 2012, stating that “taxis made 47 million trips serving 94 million passengers” meaning that each trip serves on average 2 passengers.

Here is a table showing the figures reported in the media.  Numbers in black were stated in the media, numbers in red were calculated by process of deduction.  


The following table shows difference in reporting the Dubai Taxi trips between RTA Annual Report from 2011, RTA Q1 2013 report and AMEinfo


AMEinfo reported that Dubai Taxi trips in 2011 were 62.36 million and in 2012 rose to 68.7 million.  Quoting the number of passengers these trips served, we get to an average of 2 passengers per trip again.

The AME taxi trip info is interesting because if you look at the Annual Statistics Report of 2011 from the RTA their 2011 taxi trip numbers are only 35.8 million, meaning that AMEinfo figures are 74% higher than RTA published figures for 2011 regarding Dubai taxi journeys. How is this possible?

The 2011 annual report from the RTA states the number of Dubai Taxis as 3504 in that year, however upon looking at the Q1 2013 report, it appears that they haven’t included the other licensed Taxi Cab operators such as Al Watani Taxi, Al Arabia Taxi, Metro Taxi, Cars Taxi and Al Madina. This means that the Q1 2013 taxi fleet stands at 8042.  However, the total trip data for 2011 in the 2011 report does include the journeys from all licensed taxi operators. 

On the RTA website ( ) they state 26 Ladies Taxis are available, but on the Q1 2013 report, it states 50 are available.  

Compared to the same period in 2012, there has been almost zero increase in the number of total taxi vehicles available.  I haven’t managed to pull off population and tourist figures for these time periods for Dubai but I’m pretty sure there will be an increase, meaning there are probably more people but not a corresponding increase in number of vehicles to serve them.


If we take the number of trips from the Q1 2013 RTA report for taxis at 24,933,852, this works out at an average of 8,311,284 taxi trips per month. There are 6 Salik gates in total, obviously some will be used more than others.  No Salik revenue is ever reported but we can play around with some figures like so:


If we look at the reported number of licensed vehicles again from the same report, in March 2013 we can see that there were a total of 1,167,170 vehicles (including motorcycles, cars, trucks etc).

Let’s remove the 8042 taxi cabs from the total since we have accounted for them in the above table.  That leaves us with 1,159,128 vehicles.  Many of these private vehicles will have to pass Salik gates. I’ve used a figure of 25 days for the “monthly” figures, so this is probably a conservative estimate.


Of course there are any number of permutations of these data points, and depending on which data source you decide to use for just the number of taxi trips, you can generate an even broader range for revenue, but just taking the smallest and largest figures from the above 2 tables, Salik could generate anywhere from $232 million –  $677 million per year. I believe something around the $500 million / year mark would not be a bad guess.

The last time I spoke to a taxi driver he said their daily gross target is 450 dirhams. If we assume all 8042 taxis are operating daily, that means just over 3.6 million AED has to be generated daily. ($986,000).

Monthly that would mean a gross total revenue of almost $30 million, take away the $9 million in Salik fees (if every taxi trip passes under 1 Salik gate – see above tables) that means almost $21 million / month in revenue to the taxi corporations (before subtracting other operating expenses such as salary, maintenance etc).  

RTA describes the breakup of the total number of vehicles and trips by each taxi company, for Q1 2013 as follows.  


Using the total trip percentages, we may get a monthly revenue after Salik per company as follows:


What can we conclude from the above exercise?

We are aware that media coverage of industry and government statistics tends to be misquoted at best and wildly inaccurate at worst.  The reports from the relevant government bodies are also inconsistent, I couldn’t find the Annual RTA report for 2012 for example. It’s not made clear if the same reporting methods are used in each year as well.  Within reports, there is some misleading data (for example the 2011 count of only Dubai Taxis, but the total trip count including all taxi corporations)

For the average taxi user, it might be useful to know that there are only 8042 taxis available and that number hasn’t changed since last year, this could help when planning journeys or considering other public transport options. For ladies who require female drivers, 50 taxis out of 8042 is rather a low percentage, in fact Ladies Taxis make up 0.6% of all available taxis. Is there an opportunity for Careem and Uber to capitalize on this opportunity? 

Source: New feed
Dubai Transport, Dubai Taxis and Salik data

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