Taxis are the most efficient way to get around the city. They are prolific, fares are relatively cheap, and most drivers speak English and have a reasonable knowledge of the major tourist attractions and malls.
You can hail taxis in the street or call a cab company. As in all cities, there are busy areas and times. Each evening at 6 pm shifts change, and Friday afternoon is prayer time, so you may wait longer at these times along with the standard office hour peaks.
Most drivers are honest and fair, with a low rate of deceit and high rate of returning misplaced valuables. It is possible, however, that you may come across a driver who is very new to the city and has a limited lay of the land. Some drivers may refuse to take clients to certain destinations, citing traffic congestion or short distance; however, drivers are not supposed to refuse a fare based on destination.
Licensed taxis are marked as such, cream with a colored roof and an illuminated sign; if the whole light is illuminated or green, it is for hire. There are taxi stands at all the major malls and hotels. You can also hail a taxi in the street by raising your hand. Make sure you are in a suitable position for the driver to stop.
All taxis are metered, and at this stage, only accept cash. Rates are charged per pickup and then per km, varying with peak and off-peak times. There are also charges for waiting, and tolls on SALIK highways are paid by the passenger. Taxis from the airport, and those booked over the phone will have a surcharge. A gratuity is always welcomed but is not compulsory (round up to the nearest 5 or 10). Taxi drivers can supply a receipt if you need one.
Uber is available, along with the UAE-only version, Careem. These will tend to be limousines (often a Lexus sedan), and can be booked through their respective apps. Pricing is very reasonable; just slightly more than taxis, except during peak times when there is a surcharge. It is a metered ride, charged to your registered credit card. Pickups and drop-offs can be entered via GPS, allowing you to track the driver both before and during your ride.
Careem. 4/440--5222; www.careem.com.
Dubai Taxi Corporation. 4/208--0808; www.dubaitaxi.ae.
Uber. 4/427--0491; www.uber.com.