Getting around Dubai
Dubai has an extensive public transport network, consisting of two metro lines, a streetcar line around the Dubai Marina and numerous bus connections. To use the RTA’s public transport services, you are directed to a Nol card, which you can read about later. Unfortunately, not all tourist sites are located on a metro line, so you will have to switch regularly between different transportation options.
– Also keep in mind that cabs in Dubai are quite cheap, which sometimes makes it more convenient to combine your trip with a cab.
– To visit the sights in Dubai, it can also be advantageous to purchase a pass (for several days) for one of the various Hop on Hop off buses, as these often stop near the sights. Especially if you buy a multi-day pass, it can be advantageous for you, as it sometimes includes free entrance to some of the tourist attractions.
Below is a selection of the three most frequently chosen passes:
All public transport of metros, streetcars and buses are regulated by the RTA. The RTA metro system currently consists of a red line and a green line, with the red line connecting to Dubai Airport. The metro trains operate fully automatically, without drivers, and are the fastest and often cheapest way to get around Dubai. In addition to the Dubai Metro, another streetcar line connects the Dubai Marina to Palm Jumeirah Palm Island.
For public transport in Dubai, you need a Nol Card. As a tourist, I recommend the Nol Red card or the Nol Silver card (the Gold card is specially designed for first class carriages, the Blue card is a personalized card for Dubai residents). Both cards are easy to buy and reload at ticket machines or at a sales counter.
The Nol Red card paper ticket can be purchased once at an ATM or metro station counter (cost AED 2, €0.5) and can then be reloaded via ATMs for up to 10 trips (by debit or credit card). Disadvantage: Currently, this ticket can only be used on one mode of transportation at a time (e.g., metro only, bus only).
Nol Silver Card
The Nol Silver Card is an anonymous smart card that can be topped up with an amount of your choice and can be purchased for AED 25.00 (AED 19.00 travel balance included). You can use your Nol Silver Card to travel by metro, bus, boat bus or streetcar from Dubai (only the 105 bus to the Garden of Miracles requires a special ticket). This ticket is useful if you are going to use public transport more often. You always pay for your one-way ticket with the Silver card, which is slightly cheaper than the Red card (1 zone is AED 3, 2 zones AED 5 and 3 zones AED 7.5).
General information about the metro
The metro map is divided into zones (Map including metro and buses). The metro operates 7-10 times per hour. Children up to 5 years old are free. There are 3 types of cars in the subway: standard, Gold Class (1st class) and Women & Children (women with or without children have free choice to take this car). If you change to a bus (or vice versa) within 30 minutes at the same metro station, it is considered the same trip. However, your trip may become more expensive if it changes the number of zones crossed. Please note that you must register for both the bus and the metro. You can check your route on the RTA website or download the Wojhati app on your phone.
Saturday to Wednesday 5:30am – 12:00am (green line from 5:50am).
Thursday 5:30am – 1:00am (green line from 5:50am)
Friday 10:00am – 1:00am
Streetcar in Dubai
The RTA streetcar service connects the Dubai Metro and the Palm Monorail and runs along Al Sufouh Road and Jumeirah Beach Road (“The Walk”). The 11 km streetcar line is primarily intended to improve transportation around the Dubai Marina and connection to Palm Jumeirah, the palm island. A streetcar line that continues along the coast to Burj Al Arab, Madinat Jumeirah and ends at the Mall of the Emirates.
The streetcar runs 6 to 10 times an hour. To use the streetcar, you must use the Nol cards described above.
Bus in Dubai
Dubai has an extensive RTA bus network. To use the bus, you can use your Nol Card again or buy separate tickets at major bus stations (tickets are not sold on the bus). For the RTA timetable, we recommend using the RTA route planner.