Dubai has an extensive and well-connected public transport system that is affordable, rapid, and convenient. Driving in Dubai is very expansive as it brings added expenses like driving license costs, car costs, fuel costs and many more. Many people in Dubai prefer to use the various public transport modes instead of driving which is sustainable and cheaper at the same time. The Road’s and Transport Authority provides the transport and handles the roads and traffic in Dubai.
There is a lot about Dubai’s public transport residents still don’t know, so, here’s a complete guide to Dubai’s public transport system.
There are many types of public transport that is available for residents and tourists to use in Dubai. Each transport easily and efficiently connects every part of the city. Let’s find out more about them.
1. Dubai Metro
The Dubai metro is the most popular public transport in Dubai. It allows you to travel in a modern, automated railway system. It provides you with a range of distinctive services with a touch of luxury. There are two metro lines – The Red Line and The Green line. The Red line starts from Centre Point station and ends at Expo 2020 station and the green line starts from Etisalat station and ends at Creek station with Burjuman and Union stations being two interchangeable stations. The Dubai Metro seamlessly connects many residential and commercial areas while also stopping near several of Dubai’s top attractions. The metro is very comfortable and convenient to use, it even has 3 separate compartments specially for women and kids.
Mode of payment: Nol card
Cost: Depending upon zones – min: AED 3 max: AED 7.50
2. Public Bus
The public bus network covers around 82% of urban areas in Dubai with an extended network of 119 internal bus lines, 35 linking to metro stations, 12 intercity busses, 62 internal buses and 8 fast lines. With a fleet of 1,518 buses that connect residents and visitors to and within the city. With its vast network, air-conditioned bus stations and separate compartments for women and families, the public bus system is a convenient and affordable mode of transport.
Mode of payment: Nol Card
Cost: depending upon zone min AED 3 max AED 5
3. Dubai Tram
The Dubai Tram is a world-class tramway which is the first in the country after Europe to have ground based electric supply which eliminates the need to have the cable system. It is an essential part of Dubai’s public transport system. It serves notable areas in Dubai such as Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Residence and Al Sufouh. The Dubai Tram also links to the Dubai Metro and the Palm Monorail, reducing traffic congestion and allowing you to easily access the leisure areas of JBR and Dubai Marina and professional hubs like Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City. There are currently 11 Dubai Tram stations with Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Lake Towers stations linking to the Dubai Metro.
Mode of payment: Nol card
Cost: AED 3
4. Dubai Taxis
The Dubai Taxis are another popular mode of transport in Dubai that operates 24/7 and can be found in nearly every part of the city. It is one of the quickest and most comfortable way to get around the city although a bit expensive than other public transports. There are different types of taxis – Airport taxis, Hatta taxi, Ladies and family taxies, Limousine taxi and special needs taxi. The Dubai taxi also allows you to book your taxi through the DTS Smart App. The Smart rental feature of the DTC app allows you to rent a car through Ekar and Udrive in Dubai.
Mode of payment: NOL Card, cash or credit/debit card
Cost: AED 12 (min)
5. Marine Transport
You can also sail via Dubai’s public transport to get to your destination. Dubai’s marine transport options include Dubai Ferry, Dubai Water Bus, Dubai Water Taxi and Abras, which provide a scenic view to your journey. Find the timetable and fare of the marine transports here
Plan your journey through public transport using the RTA website
Apps that make travelling in public transport easier:
• S’hail: The S’hail app is RTA’s official app that uses a real-time map to help you plan your journey in advance. You can enter your destination and the app will display the best route using all the public transport means in Dubai. The app makes it easier to travel using public transport it provides you the timings, schedule, route maps of each transport and gives you an estimated time you’ll arrive at your destination.
• RTA App: The RTA app is a must have for anyone travelling through public transport in Dubai. It has many features like- journey planning, maps, timetables, and it also allows you to renew your driving license and your car’s registration. It helps you to find a parking space when you can’t find one, check your balance or top up your Nol Card, pay your car park fines, book taxis and find the nearest metro station. Their fare calculator helps you to know the exact fare when using any of the public transport.
• DTC Smart App: The DTC app allows you to book taxis and limousines in an easy, smooth, and convenient way. You can book a taxi in three simple steps- download, select and reserve. The app searches for the nearest taxi and automatically sends it to your location. It is a good way to book your taxi without waiting outside in the scorching heat of Dubai to find one.
Besides these, apps like Uber and Careem can also be used to book ride-hailing services. You can also use the Careem app to book the Hala Taxi which is considered the most affordable taxi service in Dubai.
Find the timings of each public transport here
Everything you need to know about NOL Cards
The Nol card is a smart card that enables you to pay for using the various RTA transport modes in Dubai with a single tap. You can use your Nol card to travel through the Dubai Metro, Buses, Dubai Tram, and marine transport modes. It is a very easy to use, affordable and is valid for 5 years. You can also use Nol card to pay for RTA's Paid Parking, Public Parks and for Etihad Museum.
There are 4 types of Nol cards:
1. Silver Nol Card: The silver Nol card is the basic smart e-card that can be loaded with a purse value of up to AED 1000. You can get your card immediately from the ticket counter at any metro station in Dubai for a cost of AED 25 which comes with a card purse value of AED 19.
2. Gold Nol Card: Travel in luxury and comfort with the gold Nol card. This card has most of the same features as the silver card except that it gives you the privilege to access the metros gold class seats for a premium price. You can get this card for AED 25 with a purse value of AED 19 at any metro station ticket counter.
3. Blue Nol card: This is a personalised smart card with a e-purse value of up to AED 5000. It is personalised so you’ll need to provide your id and photo which will be displayed on the card. The blue card is usually reserved for students and senior citizens and has the special feature of charging the transport as 50% less than the usual fare. You can get this card at any ticket counter for AED 70 with a purse value of AED 20.
4. Red Ticket: This is for the occasional travellers who don’t want to invest AED 25 for a one-time use. You can get this ticket at any ticket vending machine at any bus stations or metro station for AED 2 and can be used for up to 10 single trips.
Rules while Using Public Transport in Dubai
While using the public transport in Dubai, there are a few rules and etiquettes you must follow:
•Do not exit the public transport without paying the due fare, you can end up getting a fine of AED 200.
•Using expired Nol card can get you a fine of AED 200 while using an invalid one can get you an AED 500 fine.
• Do not smoke while using Dubai’s public transport. If you’re caught doing so you can get a fine of AED 200.
•While entering and exiting the transport vehicle, give way to others. Do not push.
• If you’re caught damaging, destroying, or vandalising the transport vehicle you’ll get a fine of AED 200.
• Don’t put your feet on the seat or stop someone from seating on a seat beside you. You can get a fine of AED 100 for doing so.
•Selling goods and commodities is not allowed in the public transport, doing so will get you a fine of AED 200.
• Using the security devices where not needed or misusing the emergency buttons can get you a fine of AED 2000.
•Don’t sleep, eat, or drink in places you’re not permitted to you can get a fine of AED 100.
• Seating in areas dedicated especially women will get you a fine of AED 100
•Do not bring animals on public transportation, except guide dogs you can get a fine of AED 100.