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Transportation in Dubai: Getting To & Around The City


Transportation in Dubai: Getting To & Around The City

Dubai is amongst the most progressive cities in the world. The growth and innovation of the Emirates are evident in all its foundations. Take its seamless transportation systems into account to witness the pinnacle of engineering brilliance. A well-designed network of various transport systems connects Dubai’s every corner.


Dubai Metro is the spine of its transport system, while the trams, buses, taxis, and water transport act as the intricate connectors between the nooks and crannies within the city. The elite yet extremely simple transportation system in Dubai enables everyone to explore its ins and outs without complications.


Here, we discuss the various transport systems you can use to travel around the city. We’ll also uncover the requirements and other related details related to this transportation. By the end, you will have a comprehensive understanding of the transportation systems in Dubai.

Let’s start with:


1. Dubai Metro


Dubai partially introduced its first metro on September 9, 2009, exactly at 09:09:09 PM. It has been fully operational since 2010. It’s the most integral part of Dubai’s transport system. Dubai Metro features two lines—the red line and the green line.


The red line runs from Al Rashidiya (Center Point) in the east to Expo City Dubai (Expo 2020) in the west, covering 52.1 km. A branch line extends from Jabal Ali station and takes you to the UAE Exchange in the Jebel Ali Industrial Second. It features 31 metro stations in total.


Meanwhile, the green line runs from Creek in Al Jaddaf to Etisalat by e& in Al Twar. It covers a distance of 17.6 km. This line intersects with the red line at two stations, Burjuman and Union. It features 20 stations.


These lines pass through the most prominent neighborhoods of the city, along the iconic landmarks. Dubai Metro offers convenience and reliability while traveling in Dubai. Along the way, you get a chance to witness some amazing attractions, such as Burj Khalifa, Dubai Frame, and the Museum of the Future.


A new Dubai metro line, the Blue Line, will come into operation in 2029. It's an AED 18 billion project with 14 stations running 30 kilometers through the neighborhoods of Ras Al Khor Area, Dubai Creek Harbour, Dubai Festival City, Dubai International City, Silicon Oasis, Academic City, Al Warqa'a, and Mirdif. This Blue Line joins the Green Line at Creek Metro Station and the Red Line at Centerpoint Metro Station. A branch to Academic City, the other endpoint, branches out from International City 1 Metro Station. Unlike two other metro lines, the Blue Line will have three endpoints: Creek, Centerpoint, and Academic City.


Dubai Metro Timings


Dubai Metro stays off-line for about eight hours on Sundays and five hours on other days of the week. This information is easily available at metro stations and even in metros. Knowing the timing can help you plan your travel accordingly. The operating hours are as follows:

  • Sunday: 08:00 AM–12:00 AM
  • Monday–Thursday: 05:00 AM–12:00 AM
  • Friday: 05:00 AM–01:00 AM
  • Saturday: 05:00 AM–12:00 AM


Dubai Metro Tickets


Dubai’s RTA facilitates all its metro travelers with “nol Cards.” Upfront top-ups are necessary. You can use these cards to punch in and out of the metro stations. Dubai’s nol Cards are similar to the Netherlands’ OV-chipkaart or Paris’s Navigo card. Nol Cards are categorized into three groups: Red, Silver, and Gold


Red nol Cards: Usually for temporary use. These are specifically designed for tourists. You cannot recharge it more than ten times.

Silver nol Cards: Most common cards. These are standard cards that allow access to the general compartment. You cannot use these cards for gold cabin.

Gold nol Cards: The premium cards. These cards let you access the gold cabin. It offers better seats and a more spacious cabin. Usually more expensive than other cards.


As these cards are RTA-issued, you can use them on all RTA transportation. They are accepted in buses, taxis, water buses, and more.


2. RTA Public Bus


Dubai has 1518 public buses currently operating all over the city. These buses run on specific routes to designated destinations. Most of the areas in Dubai are easily accessible by bus. Additionally, the bus fare is arguably the cheapest when it comes to nol Card payments.

Since Dubai Metro doesn’t offer expansive service to all corners, buses are a greater option. Especially if you want to travel to places where metro service isn’t available. But they usually take more time to reach their destinations. So, manage your time well while traveling on buses.

Buses have comfortable seats and cool temperatures for a comfortable traveling experience. RTA buses also offer mobile charging services on every seat. These can be good metro alternatives to get to the various parts of Dubai.


RTA Bus Operation Hours


Buses in Dubai operate around the clock. However, service frequencies can vary during the night compared to the day.

Day Buses: Standard operations from 06:00 AM–11:00 PM. The frequency of bus arrivals at bus stops can vary, with an average waiting time of 10–20 minutes.

Night Buses: RTA offers two-night buses that operate from 09:00 PM–05:00 AM. The N30 runs on a route, International City–Dubai International Airport Terminal 2. Whereas, the N55 operates from Al Ghubaiba Bus Station, Bur Dubai-Al Maktoum Airport. Also, C01 operates 24 hours from Satwa Bus Station-Dubai Airport Terminal 3.


Dubai Bus Routes


Buses operate on several routes throughout Dubai. There are over 120 routes where color-coded and number-specified routes operate on time.


RTA Bus Tickets


You can use the same nol Card you’ve used in Dubai Metro to access the bus facilities. Nol Cards are the only payment method on buses. You will find a device as soon as you enter the bus. Use your card to punch in and out of the bus.


You can get these nol cards in Metro stations, most bus stations (not bus stops), and a few supermarkets, such as Spinneys, Carrefour, and Waitrose.


3. RTA Taxis and Ride-sharing Platforms


Taxis are other alternatives to buses and metros for traveling around Dubai. You can find them to be the most convenient among other options. But the fares are also equally costly. The general base taxi fare starts at AED 5 (as soon as you get in). However, base taxi fare from airports starts at AED 20–25. Then the running fare rate is near AED 2.09 per kilometer. Waiting charges also apply.


Taxis are available around the clock and are easily accessible in busy areas. But in residential areas, taxi availability can be limited. So, there are ride-sharing platforms like Careem, Uber, etc. You can book a taxi from the comfort of your place using such platforms.


You can use your nol Card or cash to make payments on taxi. Online payments are also available for ride-sharing.


4. Dubai Tram


Dubai introduced a tram service to facilitate visitors to the Jumeirah region in 2014. It offers direct connection to the Dubai Metro red line at two stations, DMCC, and Sobha Realty Stations. You can use this 14.5 km tramline to access various attractions along the Jumeirah Beach Road via its 10 tram stations.


The tram starts at Jumeirah Beach Park Station in the north and ends at Dubai Marina Mall Station in the south, and vice versa.

Dubai Tram operating hours:

  • Saturday–Thursday: 06:00 AM – 01:00 AM
  • Friday: 09:00 AM – 01:00 AM

You can use the nol Card to access its services.


5. Palm Monorail


The Palm Jumeirah has its own railway that stretches 5.45 km, from Gateway Station to Palm Atlantis Monorail Station. It’s a private railway owned and managed by Nakheel. This monorail route offers a picturesque view along the way on this massive artificial island, connecting it to the mainland.


It operates over five stops that feature amazing attractions. Trains usually come by every few minutes during peak hours. During off-peak hours, it can take 15–20 minutes.


Palm monorail operating hours:


  • Gateway: 09:00 AM–09:45 PM
  • Atlantis: 09:15 AM–10:00 PM

The ticket prices start at AED 5 for one-way and AED 10 for round-trip. Tickets are available on its website. You can also use your nol Card to access its services.


6. Bicycles and scooters


Bicycles and scooters are a great way to explore smaller regions within a neighborhood. They can be found abundantly in Dubai in almost all city areas. The RTA collaborates with private companies like Careem to offer bike services throughout the city.

You must download their app (Careem) and get a membership. Only then can you access the bikes by scanning the QR code.


7. Dubai Abras


Water transport is the most traditional transportation system in Dubai. Back in the 18th century, Dubai was merely a tiny pearling and fishing village. From those humble times to the present day, Abras has become a significant mode of transport in Dubai.


You can find these Abras in specific areas of Dubai where there is access to water—creeks and canals. These days, Abras are mostly used as a source of entertainment and transport in Dubai’s prominent neighborhoods, like Global Village, Dubai Festival City Mall, Madinat Jumeirah, Burj Khalifa Lake, and Bur Dubai Creek.


They have a specific route (starting point and end point). Most of these rides will usually cost you only up to AED 5. Whereas some locations, like Burj Plaza, can cost up to AED 68.25 per person for 25 minutes. The RTA-operated transport system accepts nol Cards. But cash is the way to go for Abras in Bur Dubai areas.


8. Water taxi and Dubai Ferry


These water taxis and Dubai ferries are more advanced than the Abras. They offer better amenities, comfort, and convenience while traveling. They are more secure as well. Most of these operate alongside the Abras in creek areas and canals. These are also run by the RTA.


Different locations have different operation schedules. Also, their fares start at AED 7 at all locations. Some prominent water taxi routes in Dubai are Marina Mall—Marina Walk, Marina Mall—Bluewaters, and Marina Promenade—Marina Mall.


Water taxis are usually good for short distances. Whereas, Dubai ferries offer long-distance cruises from one side of Dubai to the other. Even from one state to another (Al Ghubaiba, Sharjah Aquarium). These are usually more expensive. The fare rates start at AED 15 per person and can go up to AED 210 for a family package (2 adults + 2 children).


These are good options for transportation if you prefer waterways. However, these are limited to certain places, unlike taxis and buses. Water taxis and Dubai ferries accept nol cards. Or else, you can get tickets at the loading docks.


9. Yacht Rentals


Yachts are also a good means of transport to explore Dubai from a different perspective. They do not offer the in-city traveling experience but guarantee an exquisite coast-line excursion. The only drawback to yachts is that they can be expensive.


But if you share the fare among every head in the group, the cost is affordable. Usually, the hourly rate for yachts starts at AED 700 and can range up to AED 4500. Yachts are an excellent way to explore Dubai’s iconic attractions and mesmerizing skyline in a luxurious fashion.


These adventures offer several amenities and services to keep you entertained and occupied throughout your rental. Soft drinks, BBQ services, fishing opportunities, safety equipment, karaoke, and sound systems. Also, the yacht environment is kid-friendly.


As the yachts aren’t part of RTA, you need to contact a private rental company in Dubai. They offer you the best yachts as per your requirements and within your budget. Payments can be made in cash or other payment methods. You might require a security deposit as well.


10. Car Rentals in Dubai


If you prefer ultimate freedom, comfort, and convenience, you should definitely opt for a car rental in Dubai. Renting a car opens up several opportunities to explore Dubai with much more flexibility and peace of mind. Basically, you escape the constrictions and congestion of public transportation.


Explore Dubai at your own pace in the car you desire. Drive or get driven all over the Emirates in your rental car. Blend in with Dubai’s lively ambiance with the most luxurious cars. Or else, live by the mantra that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, with economy car rentals.


Rent and drive any car of your choice as per your preferences and rental requirements, supported by your budget. Relish top-tier amenities and premium assistance during your rental. Run daily errands, attend business meetings, celebrate special occasions, or go on a leisurely drive—achieve everything with a rental car in Dubai.


You can make payments at the end of your rental in cash or by using other payment gateways. If you somehow lean towards renting a car to explore Dubai, choose FriendsCarRental. Enjoy exclusive rental options, such as rentals in installments & without deposit.


Some Tips For Using Public Transportation in Dubai


These tips can help you in several ways while using public transport, such as buses, trams, metros, ferries, and taxis.

  • Avoid office hours 7AM–10AM in the morning and 4PM–7PM in the evening. These hours are overcrowded, and public transport is congested.
  • Pre-load a sufficient amount into your nol Card and even carry some extra money in case of payments in cash.
  • Follow the rules with full competence on metros, trams, and buses. The rules can be clearly posted on the wall or digital screens. Save yourself from the embarrassment and severe monetary fines.
  • Dubai Metro has separate compartments for women and children. Men shouldn’t use those.
  • Make sure you are careful with the locations and maps while in a taxi. If possible, open a map to track your route and destinations. Not all taxi drivers have the decency to offer good service. Be careful!
  • You can check the RTA schedules on their website or download their “RTA Dubai” mobile app to stay updated with the changes.
  • Plan your travel on public transportation carefully. Heavy traffic can cause delays, especially on the weekends.


It’s up to you to choose a preferable means of transport to explore Dubai. All the above-mentioned transportation systems have their own specialties and are different from one another. We recommend that you choose your transportation according to the situation you are in. For instance, choosing public transportation will help you save money and experience the reality of common residents of Dubai. On the other hand, renting a car in Dubai can be little costly in comparison, but it offers an experience of Dubai’s classy lifestyle. We wish you a memorable Dubai adventure. Happy traveling!


Written by: Friends Car Rental
Published at: Thu, May 9, 2024 7:10 PM

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