Dubai has one of the best and vast public transport networks in the world. Public transport in Dubai is managed by the Roads and transport authority (RTA) and includes the following:
Payment for public transport in Dubai is mainly by NOL card. NOL card is the RTA issued transport smartcard.
You cannot pay in cash on the metro, waterbuses, tram, and buses in Dubai.
For taxis, you can pay using either nol cards or cash.
Other nol card uses:
Pay parking fees.
Pay entrance fees to public parks in Dubai.
Pay for groceries and drinks in selected stores in Dubai.
There are different types of Nol cards for everybody's needs:
Gold nol card
Silver nol card
Blue nol card
The red ticket is the nol card that's mostly used by many tourists. Each ticket costs AED 2. Fare top-up depends on the number of trips you wish to pay for.
Gold nol card gives holders access to first-class sections on the metro and tram. It's only available for residents and long term tourists.
Silver nol card is the regular nol card for residents and long term tourists.
Blue nol card is a special nol card for students, the disabled, and the elderly. It's only available to residents.
Fares on the metro, bus, and tram are the same. The area served by RTA modes of transport is classified into 7 zones. Fares depend on the number of zones you'll be traveling and on the type of nol card you hold. See zone map and fares here.
Nol cards are available for purchase at all ticket stations, RTA customer service centers, and at the airport.
Dubai metro guide
Dubai metro is very easy to use. It only has two lines: Red and green lines. The red line also serves the airport. Metro stations are found in terminals 1 and 3. You can only carry one suitcase and a backpack into the metro. If you have extra luggage, you'll have to take a taxi.
Payment is only by nol card and fare depends on the number of zones you've passed.
The metro operates from 5 am to midnight from Saturday to Wednesday and from 10 am to 1 am on Friday.
Safety tip for tourists
For solo female travelers take the women and children only coach on the metro especially at peak hours. It's identified in pink signs. Alternatively, pay for a gold class ticket.
Dubai tram runs a very short course. It links the metro to the palm monorail and runs along Al Sufouh Road in the marina and the Jumeirah Beach Road. Payment is also by nol card. The tram operates almost at the same times as the metro.
Dubai waterbus guide
Water transport in Dubai mainly consists of water taxis, water buses, and the Dubai ferry.
The waterbus currently has 3 lines:
Dubai Marina walk- Marina terrace
Dubai Marina mall- Marina promenade
Dubai Marina walk- Dubai Marina mall.
Fares range from AED 3-5.
Taxis in Dubai
You can either hail a taxi from the roadside or use taxi-hailing apps. Careem is the most popular taxi-hailing app in Dubai. It's also cheaper compared to Uber.