Airborne taxis don’t fly with sceptical Dubai commuters

Commuters have kept their feet well and truly on the ground over the latest plan to bring flying taxis to the skies above Dubai.

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Take us down: Dubai commuters have taken Uber’s news of its flying taxi service with a grain of salt. Courtesy: Bell Helicopter

DUBAI // Commuters have kept their feet well and truly on the ground over the latest plan to bring flying taxis to the skies above Dubai.

Taxi hailing service Uber said it would make airborne cabs a reality after choosing the emirate, along with Dallas, to develop its Uber Elevate Network of electric, vertical take-off and landing vehicles.

The company said it hoped to have a demonstration ready in time for Expo 2020.

But Uber customers have said the plan seems more science fiction than science fact.

“It might look good in a film set in the future but I don’t think the practicalities will make it a feasible choice for most customers,” said Jonathan Woakes, from Britain.

Mr Woakes, who uses Uber’s more conventional road-based taxi service, said he had doubts about the safety of the vehicles and wondered whether they would be piloted or unmanned.

“If they have pilots then I would imagine that will increase costs significantly, and if they are unmanned then I don’t think many people would have the confidence to trust it,” he said.

Although Uber customers think nothing of paying more for their ride home than they do with regular taxis, Cedric Pinto from the Philippines said the cost of booking a flying cab would most probably put off all but the most well-heeled people.

“Looking at all the infrastructure that will be required I don’t think it will be practical because it will be very expensive to put that in place,” Mr Pinto said.

“Unlike the normal taxi service I doubt it will be door-to-door, because the vehicles will probably only be allowed to land in certain areas for safety reasons, which means you might not go exactly where you want to.” More info

By   thenational.ae