The Ultimate Guide to Getting Around Dubai | Dubai Public Transport, Must-Have Travel Apps in Dubai, Travel Tips & More
Public transportation in Dubai is an expansive network allowing commuters like residents and non-residents to travel easily around Dubai. As Dubai is a haven for tourists, the availability of public transport at a reasonable rate is a blessing for pocket-friendly for them. The public transport modes in Dubai include buses, trams, abras, metros, monorails, and taxis. In fact, the Dubai metro is considered one of the world's most affordable and new-gen metros. The availability of various travel apps also helps people to navigate around easily with ease.
Getting Around Dubai
From: AED 3-4
Good For: Inter-city commute & affordable travel
Dubai's two metro lines; Red and Green run throughout the city connecting most neighborhoods and major tourist attractions. The Dubai Metro functions on weekdays between 5 AM and 1:15 PM with fares ranging from 3 - 4 AED for one zone.
- The metro network consists of two lines: Red Line and Green Line.
- The Red Line starts at Rashidiya and ends at Jebel Ali Port.
- The Green Line starts at Etisalat and ends at Creek Metro Station.
- A monthly pass costs AED 260.00.
- The trains are clean and modern, and the stations are easy to navigate.
Metro Map >
From: AED 7-20
Good For: Micro-commutes & ease of travel
The extensive bus network in Dubai consists of 1518 fleets operated on 119 internal lines serving most of the population. Various buses operating are- double-decker, standard, articulated, and metro link buses, all serving a specific purpose. It provides the service from 04:00 to 01:00 (the next day).
- Cafeteria and vending machines are available at all bus stops.
- Route C01 operates from Satwa, bus station to Airport Terminal 3 services people 24 hours for seven days.
- Provides services to people with special abilities.
- All bus stops have Nol top-up machines
- Women compartments specialized for children, women, and families are separate.
Bus Map >
From: AED 12.00
Good For: Convenience & hassle-free commute at a cost
The metered taxis provide an efficient method of transport within Dubai with excellent transportation quality standards. The taxi services operate 24 hours daily and give services like instant pickup drops, rentals, outstation services, dedicated taxis for airports, the public, and much more.
- Taxis are available 24 x7 including the public holidays
- Customers can call 80088088 or use the app by DTC to book smart rides across the city.
- Dedicated taxi service for ladies and families, especially driven by female drivers
- Tourists can even book a limousine for a regal luxury taxi experience and get around in Dubai
From: AED 1-2 per passenger
Good For: Sightseeing & novelty at cheap rates
The symbol of Dubai’s ancient culture and heritage, Abras is one of the motorable means of transport. In Arabic, the word Abras meant to cross and was traditionally used to cross from one water channel to another by locals and visitors.
- Routes on which it operates are- Bur Dubai Abra Station to Deira Old Souk Abra Station and vice versa and the Dubai Old Souk Station to Al Sabhkha Abra Station and vice versa.
- It can also be booked for private cruising rental at the rate of AED 120 every hour.
- Air-conditioned abras also operate along the route of Al Jaddaf Marine Station to Dubai Festival City (BM2).
From: 10-30 AED
Good For: Sightseeing & premium travel experience
Who can miss the scenic Palm Jumeirah and the great sight visit it offers visitors! The monorail takes one through various stops, where visitors can deboard and explore. Some famous pit stops are Palm Gateway, Al Ittihad Park, Atlantis Adventure, and Nakheel Mall.
- The 5.5 km monorail services tourists, residents, and locals and is the only public method of transport in the Palm Jumeirah.
- Travelers can buy tickets by visiting the website or from the service desk.
- Three hours of free parking is given after validating the person; after that, AED 10 will be charged every hour.
- Day pass, season pass, and family pass can also be obtained.
From: 3 AED
Good For: Connectivity between attractions & other means of transport
Tram is one of the convenient modes of transport and links Dubai Metro and Palm Monorail service. Powered by ground-based electricity supply along the track, catenary cables are provided.
- It has a gold-class cabin and a cabin specifically for women and children. Former can be availed by gold class ticket holders with luxury facilities.
- Wi-Fi and mobile network access are available throughout the way.
- Emergency call boxes for passengers are present inside the cabins.
- Special tram police forces are also appointed to ensure the safety of the passengers.
Airport Connectivity in Dubai
Metro: The Dubai International Airport (DBX) has two metro stations. The metro runs from DXB Terminals 1 and 3, operational at all times during the week, on the Red Line. The Red Line operates between 5 AM - midnight, Saturday to Wednesday; 5 AM -1 AM (the next day), and 10 AM - 1 AM (the next day) on Friday.
Bus: Buses depart and arrive from stands opposite terminals 1, 2, and 3. Make sure to buy a Nol card ahead of time as the driver won't take cash. There's also a shuttle bus service that connects Terminals 1 & 3 at any time of the week.
Taxi: You may either order a cab ahead of time (+971 (0) 4 208 0808), or hail a taxi on the street. Cream-colored Dubai taxis are identifiable by their distinctive hue whereas female drivers operate cars with a pink trim. There's an AED 25 flat fee from the airport with an additional charge of AED 1.96 per kilometer.
Driving in Dubai
Know Before Driving in Dubai
If you are a non-resident on a tourist visa, you can drive in the UAE on an international driving license. You can also hire a car in Dubai if you are at least 21 years old and have a current valid international driving permit and credit card.
- Road Rules In the United Arab Emirates and Dubai, you must drive on the right-hand side of the road. In Dubai, cars have a steering wheel on the left and they travel on the right-hand side of the road.
- Speed Limit: The speed limit in Dubai, just like any other country in the world, comes down to the road's classification and size. While residential streets have a speed limit of 25-40km/h (15-25mph), motorists may travel at up to 100km/h (62mph) on certain highways.
- Legal Driving age: To drive in the UAE, you must be at least 18 years old. To hire a car, you must be at least 21 years old.
Get Around Dubai With the Nol Card
Red Nol Card
Cost: AED 2
Valid For: 90 Days or 10 Trips
Red Nol Card can be purchased at any ticket vending machine and allows one to pay the exact amount for the trip. Tourists traveling to Dubai prefer Red Nol cards for their travel, and the card can be easily availed for water taxis, metro, trams, and buses in Dubai.
Personal Nol Card
Cost: AED 70
Valid For: 5 years
The Personal Nol Card is valid on all transport modes that are part of the Nol scheme in Dubai. It also includes public parks, more than 2000 shops across Dubai, and Etihad Museum. Students, senior citizens, or a person of determination can get special fares too. This card can be bought online as well as from metro stations and bus stops.
Gold Nol Card
Cost: AED 25
Valid For: 5 years
It works on the line of the silver card, with some additional benefits like giving access to gold cabins on metro and tram journeys. In case there are no gold class cabins with a particular mode of transport, one will be charged a regular fare.
Silver Nol Card
Cost: AED 25
Valid For: 5 years
One does not register themselves if they choose to go for a Silver Nol card. The amount of travel is calculated, and it is automatically debited from the e-purse. The maximum journey time that one can take during a day is 180 minutes, and the travel is permitted on all the modes of transport.
Must-Have Dubai Travel Apps
Good For: Public Transit Information
The award-winning application provides a list of services like driver and car owner, public transport, and business and corporate services. It assists travelers in planning the onboard routes and is a one-of-a-kind exploration app that works without a mobile internet connection or Wi-Fi. It helps people of determination to apply for a tourist parking permit.
Good For: Hailing Cabs
The careem app has quickly become one of the most popular modes of transportation in Dubai. Offering both a taxi and car service, careem is a great way to get around the city. With a user-friendly interface and affordable rates, careem is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a convenient, affordable ride.
Wojhati Journey Planner
Good For: Planning Commutes
Maintained by Road Transport Authority, Dubai, the application uses real-time GPS to help travelers plan journeys using different transport means. It gives an idea of overall journey time, and trip cost after a person enters the present address and destination. The planner also includes a map of Dubai that makes it easy to navigate the city.
Good For: Booking Taxis, Cabs & Rentals
One of the most loved apps of Dubai among travelers, it helps you to travel around the place with ease. This app can book a taxi, cabs, private rental vehicles, Dubai inter-city bus transport, and much more. It brings the details of all transportation services to one single platform. Besides, the real-time traffic updates on planning journeys are an added perk.
Good For: Inter-City Commute & Ordering Food
When you talk about one app extensively used by travelers and locals worldwide, one single name comes to mind- Uber! One can even pre-book cabs and make bookings as ahead as 30 days before the start date. The app comes in handy for foreign tourists who have a prior experience with the app in their own nation.
Do’s & Don’ts While Getting around Dubai
If you are an avid traveler and have traveled extensively, you might be used to the fact that every country has its own rules and regulations that must be complied with. As a tourist, it becomes your duty to respect the culture, laws, and rules of the country you are in.
- Witness state-of-the-art buildings and skyscrapers like Burj Khalifa
- Adventure sports like parasailing, bungee jumping, ziplining
- Get the hang of different cuisines in one place
- You can enjoy a desert safari and sandboarding like nowhere in the world.
- Beach lovers can bask in the sun and go yachting too
- Dubai is the shopping hub for people who love designer brands, eateries, and souks.
- Public kissing is an offense, and people have been arrested in the past for display of physical contact in public.
- Wearing inappropriate clothing is not allowed. Malls and religious places have a strict dress code that has to be followed.
- Eating, drinking, and smoking in public are not allowed during the daytime during the holy month of Ramadan.
- Do not take pictures of a stranger without permission.
- Making vulgar comments, flaunting homosexuality, or greeting someone with the left hand is not appreciated.
Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Dubai
Dubai has ample options for transportation, which include buses, cabs and taxis, the metro, and others. If you are a budget traveler, getting around Dubai is convenient using a public mode of transport. Otherwise, you can hire a taxi or cab for more hassle-free travel.
Buses, trams, abras, metros, taxis, and cabs are some public modes of transport that helps one get around in Dubai.
Yes, the Dubai public transport is very affordable, and one of the reasons to commute easily in the city for the budget travelers.
Yes, Dubai public transport is very safe for travelers. Many public means of transport like trams have dedicated police too.
Dubai public transport has special services like dedicated compartments set aside for the safety of women and children.
The taxi service in Dubai is the most affordable and easy way of moving from one place to another. You can find a taxi service from anywhere in Dubai.
Yes, the metro travel in Dubai comes at a very pocket-friendly rate. Some of the cards for metro travel are specially curated for the use of occasional visitors or tourists.
Red Nol card is preferred by the tourists traveling to Dubai as the card deducts the exact amount for the trip taken.
You can purchase a Nol card from various public transport spots, physical counters, as well as on online mode.
Yes, there is a 24 x 7 connectivity of bus to the airport, along with the availability of taxis and cabs.
While there is no specific dress code for transport, one is expected to dress modestly, respecting the local culture and people.
Dress Code in Dubai >
Abras have been reminiscent of the traditional local culture of Dubai and are still operational in different forms.
You must have S'hail, Uber, and RTA apps downloaded on your phone that can help you navigate the city with ease.