Time Out Dubai is your guide to living in Dubai, and as part of our residents' guide we have information on public transport in Dubai.
Time Out staff
Discover Dubai using the city’s ever-growing public transport network.
Dubai Metro The city’s above-ground metro system is efficient, clean and inexpensive, with the network ever expanding. One-off red tickets are available, but your best bet is to get a pre-paid ‘Nol’ card, of which there are three different colours – silver, blue and gold. Silver is designed for frequent travellers who just want to get from A to B, blue is for people who want a personalised, secured card, complete with online services (you’ll need to wait for the RTA to post it to you), while gold gets you access to the leather seats of the carpeted Gold Class carriages – but at a premium price. Nol cards can also be used on Dubai’s buses and water taxis. Metro opening times: Sat-Wed 5.50am-midnight; Thu 5.30am-1am; Fri 1pm-1am. Visit www.rta.ae/dubai_metro for more information.
Buses Dubai’s bus network is extensive and fairly efficient. You can use Nol cards to pay for journeys (see ‘Dubai Metro’ for Nol card details). Timetables, prices and route maps for long-distance buses can be found at the main bus stations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but if you travel to other emirates, information can be sketchy. You can also try the main information line (800 9090), operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visit www.rtaprojects.me/rta_bus_eng for information on fares and routes.
Taxis The UAE’s taxis are well maintained, air-conditioned and metered in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In most other emirates, it’s a case of haggling to agree a price before you get in, but prices should be lower. In Dubai, a fleet of more than 3,000 taxis is operated by the Dubai Taxi Corporation. Taxis can be hailed on the street, with the meter starting at Dhs3, or booked over the phone (04 208 0808), in which case the meter starts at Dhs6 (6am-10pm) or Dhs7 (10pm-6am). For journeys setting off from Dubai Airport, the meter starts at Dhs20. Note that for all journeys a minimum fare of Dhs10 applies. Visit www.rta.ae for more information.
Water taxis Dubai’s water taxis have more than 50 stations, stretching from Jebel Ali Golf Resort to Deira Old Souk. Much like normal taxis, Dubai’s waterborne versions work like a private charter. As such, passengers must pay for the cost of travelling in the vessel, rather than a rate per person, and the prices are based on a maximum of ten people travelling, regardless of how many passengers there are. Unlike a taxi, you can’t just jump on spontaneously; water taxis must be booked in advance. You can arrange your departure time, as well as your pick-up and drop-off point. For information on fares, stations and timings, visit www.rta.ae (800 9090).