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Dubai Enhances Accessibility: Free Parking and Taxi Discounts for Tourists with Special Needs

DALL·E 2024 01 12 22.32.54 A digital application process for free parking permits showing a widescreen monitor with the RTA website or app interface in a modern office setting

Digital Solutions and Inclusive Measures Transform Mobility Experience

Dubai, a city renowned for its visionary approach and innovative solutions, has taken another commendable step towards inclusivity and accessibility. In a recent development, tourists with special needs, also referred to as people of determination (PoD), can now avail themselves of free public parking across Dubai for up to three months. Additionally, they are eligible for a 50% discount on taxi fares, as confirmed by officials from the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Dubai Taxi Company (DTC).

This initiative was announced at the 4th Accessible Travel and Tourism International Conference, highlighting Dubai’s commitment to making travel and tourism more accessible for everyone.

Streamlined Process for Free Parking

To facilitate this new measure, the RTA has made applying for free parking more convenient than ever. Tourists can apply online via the RTA’s website or app, or in-person at any RTA customer happiness center. This digital transformation of services, which began in August last year, means that PoD tourists no longer need to print and display permits, simplifying the process significantly. However, it is important to note that this free parking privilege is temporary and limited to three months per application.

Taxi Fare Discounts: A Step Towards Inclusive Mobility

In a similar vein, PoD tourists can now enjoy a 50% discount on taxi fares across Dubai. To avail of this discount, they need to apply for a Sanad card, a smart card issued by the Community Development Authority (CDA) for PoD residents and tourists. Abdullah Ibrahim Al Meer, acting Chief Business Transformation Officer at DTC, elaborated on this, stating that the discount is applicable on regular taxis booked through the DTC App, a significant expansion from the earlier practice where only dedicated taxis for wheelchair users offered discounted fares.

How to Obtain a Sanad Card

The process of obtaining a Sanad card is straightforward and can be completed online. The requirements include an e-copy of the visit visa issued by Dubai, a passport copy, an e-copy of a medical report or disability card from the tourist’s home country, and a recent photograph. The validity of the Sanad cards for tourists is aligned with their visit duration, ensuring a seamless and hassle-free experience during their stay in Dubai.

Implications and Future Outlook

These measures not only enhance the mobility experience for tourists with special needs but also position Dubai as a pioneer in inclusive and accessible tourism. By integrating digital solutions and thoughtful policies, the city continues to break barriers and create a welcoming environment for all visitors.

As Dubai strides forward in its journey towards becoming a more inclusive and accessible destination, it sets a benchmark for other cities around the world to follow. These initiatives are a testament to Dubai’s ethos of combining technological advancement with a deep-rooted commitment to inclusivity and social responsibility.

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