Making an urgent call while driving? You might want to think about that twice. For offenders, The Federal Traffic Council recently proposed a fine of AED 1,000, 12 black points and potential car confiscation for a period of 30 days. Currently, the penalty for driving while using the phone is a fine of AED 200 and four black points.
Last year an average of 136 people per day were caught using their phones while driving. In 2015, around 49,643 cases were recorded of people using their phones while driving, an increase from 45,499 in 2014 and 35,734 in 2013. That’s why The Federal Traffic Council is recommending a stricter penalty for offenders.
Although these harsher penalties haven’t been implemented yet, have you thought about what would happen if they were? What costs would you bare if you lost your car for a month? How would you manage to get to work? And if you have kids who go to school with you or just one family car for you and your spouse, it would double the cost and become a logistical nightmare.
You would need to sort out your kids’ transportation for the month, whether it’s getting them to take the school bus, a taxi or hire a private driver. And if you have kids who go to different schools, the expense would just keep increasing. Besides your kids, you would need to sort out your own ride to work. Even with the metro being cheaper, not all workplaces would have access to it. To add to to your increasing cost and logistical woes, you would also need to factor in the additional time it might take to get to work.
So, is it really worth answering that phone call? Below, we did a brief calculation of how much it will cost you, if you were penalized.
Taking a taxi to work and back?
If your workplace doesn’t have metro access, your other option is a taxi which can get expensive over the next 30 days. Dubai Taxi’s flag-down rate varies depending on the distance from your home to work. The base fare starts at AED 5, on top of which RTA charges a fare at the rate of AED 1.71 per kilometer. That’s not all, if you want your taxi to wait for you while you rush to get your kids out of the house, there’s a waiting charge of AED 0.71 applicable for every idle minute.
To put this into perspective, for example, if you live in JLT and travel for work to Dubai Media City, your travel distance will approximately be 10 km. You would spend an average amount of AED 22 per day for a one way ride from home to work which eventually turns out to be AED 44 for a round trip. Over the next 30 days (assuming a 20 working day month), this amount would increase to around AED 884 per month
Don’t forget, this doesn’t take into account the idle waiting charges and Salik tolls if any along the way. And if you have just one family car and you and your spouse need to get to work, this cost doubles. If you’re lucky and both of you work in the same area, you can drop your spouse to their workplace on the way to save on costs. And this is all at the same time still paying for your car expenses (excl petrol).
Is taking the metro better?
So, taxi costs might be too steep for you, then you can consider taking the metro. Consider yourself lucky if your workplace can be accessed by the metro. The Dubai metro is divided into different zones and fares increase with the number of zones you travel. A single trip in the same zone on a silver card (standard class) costs AED 3 and may go up to AED 7.5 for more than two zones. If you don’t own a NOL card, you can buy a silver card for AED 25 which comes with a purse value of AED 19.
On average you can spend anywhere between AED 6 to AED 15 to travel to and back from work with a silver NOL card. That’s a monthly cost of AED 132 to AED330 for a two-way trip. This obviously doesn’t take into account costs of any additional transportation you might need such as a bus or a taxi once you get off the metro.
What about the kids?
Don’t have your car for a month! How do you drop and pick the kids up from the nursery, school or football practice? You might want to switch to the school bus until you have your car back again. The school bus service for your kids can range from AED 300 to AED 1,000 per month depending on the area you reside in. Many schools have transport services outsourced to other companies which charge higher fees. You can also think about car pooling with other parents for the month which can save you money.
If school bus is not an option, dropping the kids with a taxi or a rent-a-car (usually starting at AED 1,500 per month) can be an option.
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What other alternative do I have?
For a more personalized experience, you can hire private car services such as Uber or Careem. Apart from being comfortable and reliable, such services are competitively priced, but cost higher than the RTA taxis. You can use their mobile apps to call for a ride, which is automatically linked to your account and charges your credit card, so you don’t need to carry cash.
Fares vary depending on demand. If you live somewhere remote or are trying to take a cab at a busy time of day these can be particularly useful and you can use the app to see how close a cab is before you order.
So, do you think the call was worth answering while driving? Consider the costs before picking up that phone.