How to use Dubai public transport

How to Use Metro, Bus, Tram, Water bus and Taxi in Dubai

If you’re new in Dubai, first thing you’d need to know is how to use public transport.

Before all, you need to know that there are several modes of transport in Dubai:

Here’s the deal:

In this definitive guide, we’ll go in depth for each of them and provide you with all the information you’d need to use any of them.


Alright, but first and in order to know Dubai public transportation cost, you need to know about NOL Card:

What is NOL Card?

Nol Card is a smart card (RFID) that enables you to pay for the use of various RTA transport modes in Dubai.

With Nol Card you can travel by Dubai’s Metro, Buses, Water buses, tram and much more, such as RTA’s Paid Parking.
Nol Card has different types to meet your needs.

Why should you get a NOL Card?

Well, simply because in the smart city, cash is not accepted as a payment method directly to use metro, bus, or even water bus.

As a matter of fact, RTA (Roads & Transport Authority) introduced RTA Nol Card as the new way to travel around Dubai with a single card.

But that’s not all

Actually Nol Card has more benefits to you other than using the metro and buses.

Here’s a quick list of what you can do with your Nol Card:

Benefits of Nol Card

  • You will travel around Dubai by Dubai Metro, Bus, Tram, Water Bus
  • You can use Nol card to pay for parking
  • There’s no need to carry cash or worry about change while using it
  • You’ll enjoy low cost fares and flexible transfers across different modes of transport
  • You may enjoy special fares for different concession types of Nol blue card (for Nol card students, senior citizen and disabled)
  • You’ll be even able pay for groceries, drinks & snacks in many places like: ZOOM, Circle K, Gloria Jeans, Burger King, Aswaaq
  • You can pay taxi
  • You can pay entrance to public parks in Dubai

All of that with a single card in your pocket 🙂

Where can you get Nol Card?

You can buy your Nol Card from ticket offices & some ticket vending machines like in metro stations.

What you need to know more is which type of Nol card fits you needs.

 If you’re a tourist you might prefer to have Dubai metro tickets for tourists, which is the red ticket; and if you’re a resident and you prefer to have a comfortable good time sitting on fancy chairs you might like to have the gold ticket. Don’t worry, we’re going through all of them now.

Furthermore, you might be asking now: what about Nol card balance? How do I know my Nol card status? How to recharge it? Card expiry?

Yes, you can check your card’s balance, yes you have several ways to know your Nol card status and recharge it; and yes each type of card has an expiry.

But, most importantly what’s the Nol card price?

And that’s why we made the below table for you that answers all the previous questions and helps you to choose the best Nol Card for the best public transport methods you use:

Nol Card Red TicketNol Card Silver CardNol Card Gold CardNol Card Blue Card
Tourists & VisitorsResidents
long term tourists
long term tourists
Personalized card with photo
(Residents only)
Expiry90 days5 years5 years5 years
1 trip or 1 daily passAED 7.5AED 7.5AED 7.5
RechargeableUp to 10 trips or 5 daily passesYesYesYes
Fare1 zone: 4 AED
2 zones: 6 AED
More zones: 8.5 AED
1 zone: 3 AED
2 zones: 5 AED
More zones: 7.5 AED
1 zone: 6 AED
2 zones: 10 AED
More zones: 15 AED
1 zone: 3 AED
2 zones: 5 AED
More zones: 7.5 AED
PriceAED 2AED 25 AED 25 AED 80


  • Children below the age of five and height below 90cm can travel for free and without a card.
  • Fare could be free for disables who have permanent disability, but only for Blue Card holders.

You can recharge your RTA Nol card via vending machines in any metro station in Dubai.

Now that you know all about Nol Cards and so you know metro fares for metro zones. You have an idea about public transport cost in Dubai,

Pick your favorite card as we’ll go through all modes of transport in Dubai.

Let’s start with Dubai metro…

Dubai Metro

Public Transport: Metro Dubai

Our metro is a world-class, fully-automated, driverless railway system. Most of the metro rides above ground providing a great view while you travel to landmarks like like the Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina, the Gold Souk and Dubai’s financial district (DIFC).

Dubai Metro tickets must be purchased in the form of a Nol card – which can also be used to pay for bus, tram and taxi fare – and rides can cost as little as AED3. Discover the city by its metro stations or use the journey planner app, Wojhati, to make the most of your Dubai itinerary.

As you may know, Dubai metro train is driverless and includes Gold class (Which you use Nol Gold Card for) and a special section for women & children.

As of today, RTA Dubai metro has two lines, though passengers can transfer between the lines at one of two mutual metro stations: Union and Burjuman (Khalid Bin Al Waleed formerly)

Red line:

Red line Dubai metro starts from Rashidiya and ends at UAE Exchange station (Jebel Ali formerly).

Green line:

The green line starts from Etisalat and ends at Dubai Healthcare City.

As mentioned before, both lines cross roads twice, once in Union Metro Station (At Al Rigga area) and once at Burjuman metro station (Khalid Bin Al Waleed street).

To save you the time of searching in RTA website for Dubai public transport map, we’ve made the map for you again here in high resolution and up-to-date 🙂

You may take a look at Dubai metro map with Dubai tram line in high resolution and download it here:

Dubai Metro Map High Resolution + Dubai Tram

Download Dubai Metro Map 2019 High Resolution

Dubai Metro Timings:

Timings for both lines don’t vary much but we wanted to put both for you, especially when you want to plan your public transport on holidays & days off as of 2020:

Saturday to WednesdayThursdayFriday
Red line5:00am to 12:00am5:00am to 1:00am10:00am to 1:00am
Green line5:30am to 12:00am5:30am to 1:00am10:00am to 1:00am

Dubai Bus

Public Transport: Bus Dubai

As we mentioned before you can use your Nol card using all public transport media in Dubai, that includes Dubai bus.

There are a total of 125 bus routes in Dubai, with an additional 11 routes added in April 2017.

If you want to plan your trip by Dubai bus you can use the official RTA website Wojhati, and if you find it a bit difficult to get the route of a specific bus you may visit our Dubai Bus Routes list 2019-2020 post that we listed all Dubai buses in it including each and every station they have, which you won’t see on the internet 😉

Take me to Dubai Bus Routes And Numbers

Dubai Tram

Public Transport: Metro Dubai

The Dubai Tram is the city’s latest mode of public transport. It opened publicly in November 2014. Trams loop around Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence and then head off down Al Sufouh Road into Al Sufouh passing Dubai Media City, the Palm Jumeirah, the Dubai Pearl, and DubaiKnowledge Village.

Dubai Tram Route

As simple and short you do not need a Dubai tram map in 2020. Dubai tram route passes 11 stations as listed below:

  • Jumeirah Beach Residence 1
  • Jumeirah Beach Residence 2
  • Jumeirah Lakes Towers
  • Dubai Marina Mall
  • Dubai Marina
  • Marina Towers
  • Mina Seyahi
  • Media City
  • Palm Jumeirah
  • Knowledge Village
  • Al Sufouh

Dubai Tram Timings 2020

Saturday to Thursday: From 06:30 am to 01:00 am (the next day)

Fridays: 09:00 am to 01:00 am (the next day)

Dubai tram Tickets

Like other public transport methods, Dubai tram uses Nol Cards as tram tickets

Ticket Type1 Zone or <3km 2 zones3+ Zones
Pre-paid Standard Adult Ticket (Silver Nol)AED 3AED 7.50
Concessionary (Blue Nol Card)AED 1.50AED 3.75
Gold Class (Red Ticket)AED 8AED 17
Gold Class Pre-PaidAED 6AED 15

Benefits of using Dubai tram as a public transport method in Dubai:

  • Wi-Fi access throughout the tram network
  • Mobile phone coverage across the network
  • Dedicated Tram Police force
  • Integrated radio system between the tram and emergency services
  • Dedicated spaces for wheelchair users on all trains
  • Information displayed on screens throughout trains and stations, (like in Dubai Metro)

Dubai Water Bus (Marine Public Transport)

Public Transport: Dubai Water Bus

Marine public transport in Dubai vary in four types:

  • Water Taxi
  • Water Bus
  • Dubai Ferry
  • Dubai Abra

Water Taxi

If you want to escape the city’s traffic and stay in style, the ideal choice is to take Dubai Water Taxi. You can transport to any of the 43 stations located all around Dubai while you enjoy the sweeping skyline views and still be close to landmarks.

  • seats up 10 passengers
  • easily booked online
  • lcd monitors
  • 32 pick-up points
  • air conditions


Everyday from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm


Hourly chartering is AED 400 for daily commuter fares between stations, visit

payment can be made online or at the water taxi stations with cash or credit card.

Water Bus

Using Dubai water bus as another option of public transport through the city is a good idea for those who want to avoid the crowd or the hot weather.

  • Dual base structure known as Catamaran Low Wash
  • Comfortable seating with air-conditioned cabins
  • Hourly rental charter package available


Dubai Marina Walk – Marina Terrace

Dubai Marina Mall – Marina Promenade

Dubai Marina Walk – Dubai Marina Mall

Fares: 3 AED

Dubai Ferry

Dubai Ferry is one of the best ways to view the Dubai’s historical sites. Explore five major routes sitting in a comfortable and fully air-conditioned environment.

Features of Dubai Ferry

  • 100 comfortable seats
  • Economy Class – 84 seats
  • Business Class – 14 seats
  • Disabled – 2 spaces for People of determination
  • Easily booked online
  • Entertainment services: 4 LCD screens
  • Kiosk on-board for souvenirs and snacks


  • Marina Mall
  • Al Ghubaiba
  • Dubai Water Canal Station
  • Jumeirah
  • Sheikh Zayed Road
  • Marasi
  • Al Wajeha Al Maeyah\Dubai Design District
  • Al Jadaf
  • Al Seef
  • Creek park B
  • Dubai Festival City

Dubai Abra

What does Abra mean?

Abra is a word that comes from the Arabic verb “abara” which means crossed. Dubai Abra, is the most traditional mode of public transport. For centuries, it has remained one of Dubai’s most frequented modes of transport, making it the symbol of the city ’s history and heritage. Today there are different types of Abras in service:

Motorized traditional Abra

Discover the charm of old Dubai in this traditional half-boat, half-raft. This is the most popular mode of transport for cruising around the Dubai Creek, a spectacular 14 kilometre stretch which divides Deira and Bur Dubai. Hop on for a glimpse of the soulful side of the city.

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)

Fares: 1 AED

Air-conditioned Abra

Combining the style of a traditional Abra and the latest technologies, this abra ride makes for a comfortable cruise in a fully air-conditioned environment. Sit back and travel along the Creek Metro Station via your favourite stores, restaurants and cafes in Dubai Festival City.

Routes & fares:

  • Dubai Marina Walk – Marina Terrace – 3AED
  • Dubai Marina Mall – Marina Promenade – 3AED
  • Dubai Marina Walk – Dubai Marina Mall – 5AED
  • Marina Promenade – Marine Terrace – 11AED

Dubai Taxi

Dubai Taxi - Public Transport

Sure we have to mention one of the most famous Dubai public transport method. Dubai Taxi.

Dubai taxi fare is minimum of AED 12 per trip and approximately 2 AED per 1 km.  That’s for the ordinary transport taxi.

You can also book a taxi in Dubai by dialing: 04-2080808.

Then specify the type of taxi requested:

  • Airport Taxi: Serves Dubai International Airport, operating at an opening fare of AED 25 and an extra fare of AED 1.75 per 1 km.
  • Special Needs Taxi: Starting fare of this service varies according to the location and & time. When the service is ordered from the Airport, the opening fare is AED 25. In other parts of the city, the meter opening fare is AED 6 in the morning, noon and evening, and AED 7 after 10.00 pm.
  • Ordinary Taxicabs from the Airport: The opening fare of the ordinary taxicab when ordered from the Airport is AED 20 plus AED 3 per each km in the morning, noon and evening, and AED 3.5 per each km after 10.00 pm.
  • Hatta Taxi: The fare of Hatta Taxi is set at AED 25 per person in the 7-seater vehicle.
  • Ladies Taxi: The opening fare is AED 6 in the morning, noon and evening and AED 7 after 10.00 pm.

Last but not least, we hope this definitive guide was useful for you as we tried to cover all public transport in Dubai as of 2020. From Dubai metro and using Nol card to Dubai transport taxi.

If you feel we missed any part that you have a question about, please do let us know in the comments. 🙂

Roads & Transport Authority - RTA

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