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Transportation in Dubai

When you settle in Dubai, you’ll experience a global city with an international workforce. If you take the right steps, your move to Dubai will be a walk in the park! Our InterNations Expat Guide on Dubai briefs you on your way to the Persian Gulf, with info on visas, permits, transportation, and more.
Dubai has a modern public transport system, including two metro lines.

The Modern Metro

Since 2009, the Roads and Transport Authority has been operating two different metro lines in Dubai, the red line and the green line. Those two lines take very different routes and stop at different destinations, offering people an alternative to the car. With special cabins for women and children, as well as a silver class and a gold class, the metro is a comfortable and modern way to commute.

Passengers pay their fares by purchasing a ticket, the Nol card. Nol cards come in 4 categories: red for tourists and visitors, blue for regular users, silver for occasional travelers and gold for individuals wanting to travel in the Metro Gold Class cabins. You can plan your journey by using RTA Wojhati (journey planner). It helps you to plan your route, taking not only the Dubai metro but also other public transport options into account.

On the Road 

Aside from cars, taxis are the most popular mode of transportation in Dubai. You can catch a taxi in public places anywhere in Dubai or book in advance. An online booking and reservation service is available. Women who feel uncomfortable or unsafe with male drivers can book so-called “pink taxis” with female drivers.

An alternative to taxis are buses. Dubai’s bus services connect different residential, industrial and business districts. Passengers can also make use of night buses and inter-emirates buses. Only recently, Dubai has established air-conditioned bus stops to make waiting for the bus more comfortable for commuters.

As is the case with the metro, bus fares are paid by purchasing a Nol card before entering the bus. They are available at Dubai metro stations, several bus stations as well as RTA outlets. Dubai is divided into 5 zones and fares vary, depending on the destination.

Taking the Water Route

To travel on water or to cross the creek, you can use abras, traditional wooden boats with motors. They can be chartered for cruising along the creek for 100 AED per hour. Commuters, however, often use water buses, operated by the RTA marine agency. There are five different routes for commuters at 2 AED to 5 AED per person. Payment is made via the Nol card as well.

In addition, Dubai has launched a water taxi service in July 2010. Water taxis can transport up to 11 passengers and are equipped with ramp access, LCD screens, air-conditioned cabins and other luxuries. Unlike water buses and abras, they can leave the creek and navigate the waters of the gulf.

Water taxis connect many different locations, such as Deira Old Souk or Jebel Ali Golf resort, running from 10:00 to 22:00. Passengers have to book rides with the water taxi in advance by calling RTA or via their hotel service staff. The price is agreed upon when the passenger makes the booking.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Peter B. Krehmer

"There are so many expats in the UAE, but the InterNations Dubai Ramadan dinners brought some wonderful guests together. "

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"Dubai is such an overwhelming mixture of tradition and modernity that I was very grateful for all the support from other expats. "

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