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Essential Information

Guide to public transport in Dubai

Thu, March 23, 2023

Navigate Dubai's major hotspots conveniently with this comprehensive guide.

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Navigate Dubai's major hotspots conveniently with this comprehensive guide.


By car

Dubai’s road network has significantly evolved over many decades to provide a seamless travelling experience for visitors and residents alike. The city’s main artery, Sheikh Zayed Road, connects a number of neighbourhoods and must-visit spots. With stunning buildings, hotels and malls on either side of this highway, take a long drive and admire the glittering skyline.

You can grab a taxi from the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) from almost any corner in the city – whether pre-booked or hailed at a roadside curb. Dubai also offers a special taxi service for ladies operated by female drivers, as well as accessible ones for people of determination. You can book a ride today by dialling +971 4 208 0808. Private taxi booking services like Uber or Careem allow you to make a taxi booking using a mobile application – the latter also allows you to book an RTA taxi. Choose to pay using cash or card, and your taxi will be at your doorstep in no time.

If you own a valid licence, you can easily rent a car at a reasonable cost from any of the local car hire service providers. Or enjoy a self-driving experience in the city by downloading the UDrive or ekar applications. Find a car closest to you, hop in and pay-as-you-go. Drive down the fascinating streets of Jumeirah or simply stop by the beach with your loved ones. However, take note of speed limits and traffic rules before you start driving. When travelling by road, it is also advisable to factor in travel time. If you plan to leave during rush hour, ensure that you leave a little ahead of time in case of any delays due to traffic.


By bus

There are more than 1,500 air-conditioned buses in Dubai that make travelling on a budget possible. Air-conditioned shelters are located at most bus stops and departures are scheduled at frequent intervals to make commuting hassle-free. Why not take a bus to any of the prime bus stations located in Old Dubai and embark on a fascinating walk through Dubai’s storied streets filled with history and culture? You can also choose to book a tour on any of the hop-on, hop-off tours for a quick and fun-filled tourist experience. These can be booked online or at any of the major malls in the city.

Remember, you can plan your journey in advance using the RTA Wojhati application. Make sure you purchase a Nol card, the city’s travel companion that gets you almost anywhere you wish to be in the city with a simple tap, as buses do not accept cash payments.


By rail

Dubai’s world-class metro has been functioning since September 2009, and this economical, safe and reliable mode of travel connects you to the main sights of the city. All metro stations are equipped with designated areas for women, the elderly and the disabled. For any questions before or during your commute, download the RTA Dubai app, which has all the information you need. The Dubai Metro also offers an exceptional travelling experience to its Gold Nol card holders with a separate cabin with better seats and more space. Dubai also has two other rail options: the Dubai Tram which operates from The Walk at JBR to Al Sufouh, and the Palm Jumeirah monorail which runs along the trunk of the manmade island until Al Sufouh.

When travelling by any form of rail transport in Dubai, ensure you carry your Nol card which enables you to skip the queues for a ticket. You can recharge this using the RTA Dubai application or at any of the designated recharge machines available at metro and bus stations.


By water

Commuting by sea allows you to experience one of the oldest modes of travel in the city. The abra is a wooden boat that can be accessed from any of its designated creekside stations in Bur Dubai or Deira. Hire a private one for a flat fee starting at AED60 for half an hour for sightseeing. Inspired by the abra, the modern Dubai water taxi provides waterfront views and faster access to more than 40 stops across the city. You can also book a dhow dinner cruise to experience traditional hospitality while out at sea. There's also the Dubai Ferry, which connects Dubai Marina to Al Shindagha.

For special occasions, secure a private yacht service online with providers like Dubai’s Xclusive Yachts. When travelling in hot weather, remember to carry a hat and enough water to keep you hydrated.


By foot

If you would like to explore Dubai by foot, there are well-planned and easily identifiable walkways available through the city with clear sign-boards to guide you on your route. You will also find pedestrian over-bridges that link different areas and ensure safe crossings on highways. Highly controlled traffic junctions ensure that drivers wait for you to cross the road and help preserve road safety. The best time to explore by walking – especially in Old Dubai – is during the cooler months starting from October. It is recommended to carry essentials like a sun hat, water, snacks and some sunscreen for the day. You might also want to pick a map of the city from your hotel, or plan your trip online on the RTA Dubai website.

By bicycle and scooter

If you want to zoom ahead on a motorised scooter, the city has convenient government-regulated two-wheeler options for you. E-scooters are a common sight in the neighbourhoods of Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT), Downtown Dubai and Dubai Internet City, and can be rented from various operators, including Skurtt, Tier and Lime. Simply download their respective smartphone apps to find a scooter station near you. 
If you prefer cycling over scooters, download the Careem BIKE Dubai app. As the first large-scale, bike-sharing initiative in the region, visitors will find plenty of bicycles to rent around tourist hotspots such as Dubai Marina, Jumeirah, Dubai Water Canal, Deira, and more.

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