General Guide to Local Transportation

Transportation Basics


Traffic Times:


It is important to know that traffic comes to a stand still and the metro trains are very crowded during rush hour. In Dubai rush hour is from about 7am to 10am and about 4:30pm to 8pm, sometimes later. On Friday afternoons and on Saturdays, there is heavy traffic and clogged roads, especially in shopping areas and family attractions.




The most convenient and fastest way to travel through Dubai at night is by a taxi. There are some great sites to see at night through public transportation.


Things to Know:


Nol Card is the ticket or pass that is required to travel on the metro, tram, bus or water bus. Nol cards have to be purchased before boarding and there has to be credit on it for you to use the public transportation.


RTA stands for the Road and Transport Authority, which manages the public transportation in Dubai.


Wojhati is a great online resource for journey planners for the metro, tram, buses and boats.


Nextbike is a great alternative to motorized transportation, it’s a bike-sharing company, and  is provided with prior registration online by Byky. This is a great way to explore Downtown Dubai, Palm Jumeirah and the Dubai Marina.




Some of the major routes to note about Dubai public transportation are the following:


The Dubai Metro Red Line which stops in Bur Dubai and Deira.

The Dubai Tram is great for getting around the Dubai Marina, though it is a slower mode of transportation.


Nol Cards:


The RTA has seven zones and the fare depends on how many zones you will be traveling. You will need to purchase a Nol card at either a ticket station or a vending machine before getting on any transportation. You must tap the Nol card on the card reader when you enter and exit, so that the correct amount of fare can be deducted from your card or ticket.


If you are a visitor there are two kinds of tickets that you should be aware of. The Nol Red Ticket, a pre-loaded card that will have the correct fare each time you travel. This type of ticket can be re-charged up to ten times, however you can only use this card on a single form of transportation at a time. The second type of card is Nol Silver card which has pre-loaded credit and this works as a pay as you go card. This is great if you are making more than ten trips.




Here are some top tips for transportation;


-Always buy your Nol card before using public transport, which includes the metro, bus, tram and/or boat.


-If you have a short layover in Dubai and want to travel around, purchase the Nol Red Ticket, which is rechargeable. If you are staying longer, you may want to consider the Nol Silver Pass.


-Taxis are the fastest and most comfortable way for getting around Dubai. Taxis are also great for short distances and they are relatively inexpensive.


-While Dubai is not the best walking friendly city, there are some great places to walk around such as the Marina, Downtown Dubai and Deira, among others.