Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The public transportation system in Dubai (Metro, Buses, Trams, Abras, Ferry, Water taxi) – are managed by the RTA. The best part is that all these services use the same ticket type – the NOL card. You don’t need to worry about purchasing a different ticket for each service. Road taxis however need to paid primarily by cash.

The NOL Card

The NOL card is a smart card that allows commuters in Dubai to use various RTA transport modes in with a single card. With its ‘touch and go’ feature, you simply have to tap your card on the card reader at the entry and exit gates of the Metro and Waterbus stations; at the entrance gate of every RTA Bus and on all RTA parking meters. The system automatically charges the correct fare from your card. Remember that the credit must be added to the card before travel. The NOL cards will get you access to the following services in Dubai:

  • Metro
  • Buses
  • Water Buses
  • Dubai Tram
  • RTA’s Paid Parking
  • Dubai Water Bus
  • Abra Rides

Which NOL Card?

NOL Cards come in 4 major types:

Red – The Red NOL card is a paper card that can be bought for only AED 2. It can then be loaded with up to 10 Single Trips. These cards can be bought from any ticket vending machine. The Red NOL card can only be used on only one mode of transport at a time (e.g. on Metro only, Bus only). Perfect for tourists.

Silver – The Silver card is an e-card that allows you to travel on all the modes of transport (unlike the Red ticket) and can be loaded with up to AED 5000. The card costs AED 25 and includes an AED 19 e-purse value. The Silver NOL card is valid for 5 years. Perfect for tourists and locals.

Gold – The Gold card is similar to the Silver card in all ways except that it also allows you to access the privileged Gold class cabins on the Dubai metro and trams. Perfect for tourists and locals.

Blue – There is a Blue card, but it is only available to locals.


Like every other major city in the world, taxis are ubiquitous throughout the city and easily available. Despite being the most expensive form of public transport in the city, its ease and comfort easily makes it one of the most convenient ways to move around the city.

Taxis are an easy way to quickly zip around from A to B. It’s easy to find taxis at the airport and nearby hotels. You can reserve one online or call Dubai Taxi – the state-run taxi service – and you’ll be cruising in no time. There are taxis with pink roofs that are for ladies only. This ensures that female visitors and residents alike have the safest and most comfortable environment possible.

Taxis can be easily found at the entrances of malls, shopping destinations and all major tourist attractions. You can also hail one on the road, though it does get difficult during rush hour.

Ride sharing apps have recently come into vogue in Dubai, challenging Dubai Taxi for pre-eminence. You can go with Uber or Careem , a home-grown company that currently operates in 53 cities around the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. But which should you choose? In Dubai, Uber and Careem typically cost more than a taxi . The advantage is that Uber offers a flat rate, so if there’s traffic and you’re going a long distance, it can also be cheaper. In general, Careem is less expensive than Uber for shorter distances and Uber is less expensive for longer distances.


The Dubai Metro – which just passed the one billion rider milestone – is a sleek, modern rail system with two connected lines and a route that links the airport with the city centre. Wi-Fi is available throughout the metro and the Gold Class cars feature wider leather seats and boast beautiful views from enlarged windows. Similar to the pink-roof taxis, there are cabins in the metro available for the exclusive use of women and children. The metro also has wheelchair access, guide paths for the visually impaired, and a dedicated metro police.

The Dubai Metro offers one of the easiest ways to get around the city. With two lines that run for a total length of 50km, 49 stations and trains that run every couple minutes – using the Dubai Metro is easy and efficient.

The Dubai Metro has two lines:

Red Line – It runs from Rashidiya (near Dubai Intl Airport) to UAE Exchange (formerly Jebel Ali). The Red Line has 29 stations.
Green Line – It runs from Etisalat Metro Station to Al Qusais Creek in Al Jaddaf. The Green Line has 20 stations.

Passengers can switch lines and transfer between them at Union or Bur Juman Station.

To use the Dubai Metro, you will have to purchase the NOL card. For single usage or a day pass, go for the Red NOL Card. If you’re in Dubai for a longer duration, then you can go for the Silver/Gold/Personal card.

To learn more about the NOL Card and buying it online, click here



Red Line

Green Line

Sat – Wed

05:00 am to 12:00 am

05:30 am to 12:00 am


05:00 am to 1:00 am

05:30 am to 1:00 am


10:00 am to 1:00 am

10:00 am to 1:00 am


Metro Map



The RTA runs a fleet of around 1,500 state-of-the-art buses that connect the entire city of Dubai. With 119 internal lines (35 that connect to metro stations), the Dubai bus network covers 82% of the urban area in the Emirate of Dubai.

The buses used by the RTA are air-conditioned, equipped with NOL card sensors at the entry & exit points and easily accessible by people with special needs. Combine this with the coverage area and you have one of the most efficient bus networks in the world. The bus stops are air-conditioned too to keep you safe from the Dubai sun.

Dubai Bus Tickets

Similar to the Dubai Metro and other transport modes operated by the RTA, you will need to get yourself a NOL card to travel on the buses. Cash is not accepted on Dubai’s buses. Passengers are required to hold their NOL card at the e-card readers while boarding and getting off the bus to be charged the correct amount for the trip. Click here to learn more about the NOL Card and buying it online.

Dubai Bus Timings

• Main Stations – Gold Souk, Al Ghubaibah
5:00 am – 12:00 Midnight

• Sub Stations – Al Satwa, Al Qusais, Al Quoz Industrial, Jebel Ali
5:00 AM – 11:00 PM
6:00 AM – 10:10 PM (Jebel Ali sub station buses)

• Metro Feeder Stations – Al Rashidiya, Mall of the Emirates, Ibn Battuta, Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa, Abu Hail, Etisalat
5:15 am – 1:10 am

Dubai Bus Stations

There are 15 major bus stations in Dubai, and numerous bus stops along the way. The major bus stations are divided into Major Stations, Sub Stations and Feeder Bus Stations. You can check out the official Dubai RTA bus station list to learn all about them.


The RTA operated Dubai Tram has been part of the Dubai Public Transport network since 2014. The tram line is currently limited and runs for 14.5 kilometers along Al Sufouh Road, connecting Dubai Marina to the Palm Jumeirah and Al Sufouh. One can transfer from the tram to the metro at the Jumeirah Lakes Towers Station and Dubai Marina Station of the Dubai Metro’s Red Line. The tram is also connected with the monorail of the Palm Jumeirah.

Dubai Tram is the third tramway project in the world (and the only one outside Europe) that is powered by ground-based electric supply system. It comes with additional services such as Wi-Fi, disabled access, private cabins and cabin for women and a dedicated metro police.

Dubai Tram Tickets

Similar to the Dubai Metro and other transport modes operated by the RTA, you will need to get yourself a NOL card to travel on the tram. The tram has a fixed fare of AED 3 per ride regardless of the travel distance.

Dubai Tram Timings

• Weekdays
6:00 am – 1:00 am

• Friday
9:00 am – 1:00 am


Opened in 2009, the Dubai monorail is the first monorail in the Middle East. The Dubai Monorail runs on the Palm Islands and connects it to the mainland with further plans to connect the line to the Metro Red Line.

Monorail Tickets

The Dubai Monorail accepts only cash. You cannot travel on the Dubai monorail with a NOL card. A one-way ticket costs AED 20 and a return ticket costs AED 30.


9:00 am – 10:00 pm daily


Abras are the city’s most traditional form of transport. Half boat and half raft, the abras have retained their design and functionality for centuries and are a present-day link to the old days of Dubai. Abras are the most common forms of boats you’ll see plying their trade and ferrying passengers across the beautiful 14-km stretch of the Dubai Creek.

Abra Routes & Timings

• Bur Dubai Abra Station to Deira Old Souk Abra Station and vice versa – 6.00 am – 12.00 am
• Dubai Old Souk Station to Al Sabhkha Abra Station and vice versa – 24 hour service

Abra Fare

• AED 1 per passenger, per trip
• AED 2 per person per trip in one direction (air-conditioned abras)


One of the newest forms of public transport in Dubai, the Dubai Ferry is also operated by the RTA. These modern air-conditioned sailing vessels operate on the Dubai Canal and the Dubai Marina.

Dubai Ferry Tickets

No. of Stops

1 Stop

2 Stops

3 Stops

4 Stops

5 Stops

Silver Ticket

15 AED

25 AED

35 AED

40 AED

50 AED

Gold Ticket

25 AED

35 AED

50 AED

60 AED

75 AED

Most Dubai Ferry Terminals have only 1 have only 1 ticket kiosk selling tickets. This leads to long ticket queues with lines that are upto 30 minutes long during peak hours. Hence, getting your tickets online is your best bet. Get your Dubai ferry tickets here.

Dubai Ferry Routes & Timings

The Dubai Ferry currently has 5 terminals:
• Dubai Marina
• Al Ghubaiba
• Dubai Canal Station
• Al Jaddaf
• Sheikh Zayed Road Station

Amongst these 5 terminals, the top 3 are : Dubai Marina, Ghubaibah and Dubai Canal Ferry Stations. Below are the routes from each of these 3 stations.

Starting From Dubai Marina

• One way trip to Al Ghubaiba with a stop at Dubai Water Canal – 11 AM, 1 PM & 6:30 PM
• Circular Tourist trips to Burj al Arab and back – 3 PM
• Sightseeing circular trip to Atlantis and back – 5 PM

Starting From Al Ghubaibah

• One way trip to Dubai Marina with a stop at Dubai Water Canal – 11 AM, 1 PM & 6:30 PM
• Circular Tourist trip within the creek – 3 PM
• Circular trip to Jumeirah Beach and back – 5 PM

Starting From Dubai Canal Station

• Dubai Canal to Al Jaddaf – 2:05 PM & 7:35 PM
• Dubai Canal to Al Ghubaiba – 11:50 AM, 2:50 PM & 7:20 PM
• Dubai Canal to Dubai Marina – 11:50 AM, 2:50 PM & 7:20 PM

Dubai Ferry Ticket Prices

• Gold Class: 75 AED
• Silver Class: 50 AED

Car Hire

Since Dubai is so well-connected via roadways, some travellers decide that the most convenient and efficient way to get around town is to rent a car for a portion or the duration of their stay.

There are both budget rentals and luxury rentals available, so you can choose to cruise the town in either a standard sedan or a Lamborghini Aventador, you choose.

Renting requires either an international license or a license from one of Dubai’s approved countries. It’s important to follow the traffic laws carefully and drive as safely as possible, given that you’re in a new environment.


If you need to get from point A to point B but can’t be bothered to wait in traffic (and you have a couple hundred dollars to spend), UberCHOPPER is a reality in Dubai.

Although you do have to book in advance, it’s a flat rate per person to deliver you, wait for you, and take you home. It’s not cheap, but it’s an amazing way to see the desert oasis from a bird’s eye view.

Take to the skies and take a helicopter tour.