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Tue 23 Oct 2007 11:02 AM

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Motorists to get airborne to avoid Dubai traffic

Dubai Taxi Company says it plans to start helicopter taxi service for VIPs by 2009.

Commuters fed up spending hours crawling along Dubai's increasingly congested roads could soon be taking to the air in an effort to avoid the emirate's perpetual traffic jams.

In what can only be described as classic Dubai style, Dubai Taxi Company said it plans to start a helicopter taxi service for VIP travellers by 2009, UAE daily Khaleej Times reported on Tuesday.

The firm said its Cars Taxi franchise will launch the service, with plans to expand it to the general public depending on how successful the venture proves.

“We will expand [the service] depending on its success and make it available for everyone,” Cars Taxi General Manager Abdullah Sultan Al Sabbagh told the newspaper.

Al Sabbagh said all project approvals had been acquired.

He did not give any further details regarding the implementation of the service or how much the service would cost and where passengers would be picked up and dropped off.

The number of helicopters required to get the project off the ground is still under discussion, he added.

“We aim at covering the whole of UAE, just like our car taxis do, but details will be announced later,” Al Sabbagh was quoted as saying.

The extravagant plan follows a number of announcement of alternative transport schemes by Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) designed to reduce the number of vehicles on the emirate's roads.

Earlier this month the RTA announced a massive revamp for Dubai Taxi to expand and upgrade its taxi fleet and establish more taxi stations in the emirate.

The new taxi stations are expected to minimise the redundant roaming of taxis on roads, consequently helping to ease traffic.

The RTA last month also launched a scheme to offer companies that set up transport systems for their employees a chance to win 1 million dirhams ($272,300).

The Dubai Award for Sustainable Transport (DAST) and prize money will go to the firm that proves its transport system could contribute to the emirate's public transport system to help promote road safety, decongestion or environmental protection.

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