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Public Transport In Dubai

Updated on August 12, 2015
Azure11 profile image

Marian (aka Azure11) lived in Dubai for 7 years and now travels over there once or twice a year for business and pleasure.

Dubai Public Transport System

Until around 2006 the public transport system in Dubai consisted of buses, the majority of which were used by lower wage earners for transport. They were really a necessary way for workers who did not have cars to get to and from their jobs and for many workers to use to go out on their day off, a Friday. The bus fares were very cheap and the buses were pretty old and run down. Although the buses had a separate section for women it was unlikely for many westerners to travel on them. The other alternative for public transport was the taxis which were cheap and reasonably easy to find.

However, in with the rapid expansion of the city itself, was a plan to implement a major public transport upgrade which included a brand new fleet of buses, water taxis, ferries, the Dubai Metro system, the Palm Monorail and the Dubai Tram.

Dubai Metro trains are now a familiar sight along the Sheikh Zayed Road
Dubai Metro trains are now a familiar sight along the Sheikh Zayed Road

Dubai Metro

The first stage of the Dubai Metro, the Red Line, was opened with great fanfare on 09.09.09 at 9.09pm. It had been a mad rush to get it finished on time and at that stage only a selection of the stations were opened at first. It was an innovative public transport system in that it was the longest driverless train system in the world and had been completed in only a few years. The carriages and stations were clean and sometimes a little bizarre (with chandeliers at one of the stations) and the Dubai Metro proved very popular as it carried one million passengers in only 16 days after it's launch.

The Red Line runs from Jebel Ali to Rashidiya and has 29 stations on it, running mostly along the length of Sheikh Zayed Road. it is linked to both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 of Dubai international Airport. Tickets are cheap and some of the more popular stations are linked to the big shopping malls including Mall of the Emirates, Burjuman (Khalid bin al Waleed station) and ibn Battuta.

The trains are very modern and clean and include a carriage for ladies and children only and a gold class carriage with better seating.

In September 2011 the Green Line was opened giving the Metro even greater coverage of the city. The red line and the green line meet at two interchange stations - Khalid bin al Waleed (Burjuman) and Union so that you can change lines easily.

Feeder buses were introduced to link the Dubai Metro with the surrounding residential and commercial areas so that the system could effectively cover a much wider people base. Large numbers of people use the Dubai Metro system to commute to work and it has been very successful since it's launch.

Dubai Taxis

Dubai Taxis are relatively cheap to use (probably due to the low cost of petrol in the Emirate and also the relatively low wages of the mainly Asian, African and Afghani driver population). You can either hail them on the street or book them in advance. The system is usually very efficient and a taxi should arrive very quickly although sometimes in the newer areas with badly marked streets the drivers may fail to find you!

If you pre-book a taxi you pay a fixed fee of 6 AED on top of the fare. If you take a taxi from the airport there is a surcharge on top of the fare of 25 AED currently. There is also a minimum fare of 10 AED.

Dubai Buses

In recent years The Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai (RTA) has introduced a brand new fleet of buses which are clean and cheap to use. The fare system is the same as the Dubai Metro and depends on how many zones you travel through, with a maximum fare of less than $2 for each trip.

There are feeder buses that go from each Metro station to the surrounding areas and also the general buses that cover the city. There is a separate section at the front of the bus for ladies and you must remember to swipe your Nol Card in and out when you start and end your journey. If you use the bus together with the metro then the fare will be combined and so if you do not travel through any extra zones on the bus then effectively the bus trip is free.

Water Taxis

Water Taxis were introduced in 2010 and are the only vessels that can leave Dubai Creek and enter the Arabian Sea. They can seat 11 passengers and there are 18 stations where they can be boarded with the longest trip taking about an hour and a half.

The Palm Monorail runs along the length of the Palm Jumeirah
The Palm Monorail runs along the length of the Palm Jumeirah

Palm Monorail

The Palm Monorail runs along the length of the Palm Jumeirah with the end station being located at the entrance to Aquaventure, the waterpark that is part of the Atlantis Hotel. It links up with the Dubai Tram at the Palm Gateway station, which in turn links with the Metro at Dubai Marina.

Dubai Tram

The Dubai Tram system opened in November 2014 and the first phase is centred about the Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence, with links in to the Metro system. It also links to the Palm Monorail and there are plans for phase 2 and 3 in the future to extend the tram much further.


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    • profile image

      cheap hotels in Spain 

      7 years ago

      dubai is for sure one of the rapidly developing nations in the its nice to see such development of road transport is happening.

      cheap hotels in Spain

    • Azure11 profile imageAUTHOR

      Marian L 

      8 years ago from UK

      Yes mruptrend, they seem to have harnessed the latest technology in Dubai. I believe that the top speed is around 110 kmph but I don't think it reaches this often as the stations are pretty close to each other for most of the red line. Average speed seems to be about 40-50 kmph and although it sometimes takes longer than it would go somewhere by car obviously there are the advantages of not having to park and using a greener form of transport!

    • mruptrend profile image


      8 years ago

      technology of the present and future! I am curious, how fast does the dubai metro red line trains travel. thanks for sharing


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