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Dubai: Transport

Dubai: Transport

More than 80 airlines operate to and from Dubai International Airport to more than 130 destinations, making it one of the world's busiest.

With both public transport and hired vehicles readily available, traveling to and from the airport is simple. Passengers who are looking to transfer between terminals to catch a local flight can use the airport shuttle service.

Getting Around Dubai

Roads and highways

Over the past two decades, Dubai has built an impressive network of first-class roads connecting all parts of the city and surrounding areas. There are two bridges and a tunnel linking the two main districts of Dubai and Deira on either side of the Creek. Roads to all major towns and villages are excellent and a multi-lane highway heads southwards from the city to Abu Dhabi.


Dubai Municipality runs the Public Bus Transport system in Dubai. The bus fleet consists of top quality custom-built buses equipped with individual seats, air-conditioning, electronically operated destination display system and computerized fare equipment. Most of the buses have a carrying capacity of 51 seating and 10 standing passengers. Of late, smaller capacity buses were acquired to service inner CBD routes as also a few low-density corridors.

The bus transport infrastructure includes 8 well-attended bus stations, over 1500 bus stops, 153 wayside passenger shelters and point timetables at 450 busy bus stops.

Traveling by bus is cheaper than taxi. Bus stop is spread out everywhere, especially in the prime locations. You can get a bus every 15 minutes and there is schedule in every bus stop. The schedule will be different on Friday (but you can always check in the schedule). Usually, the bus fare is 2 to 5 Dirhams, depending on the destination. A Fare Table booklet is available free of cost for public. The main bus station is in the Gold Souq. From here, you can pick any direction.

Airport Bus Service

Air-conditioned, baggage friendly scheduled services to and from Dubai International terminal-1 are available. There is a trip every 30 minutes, for only Dhs3. The routes run through two of the most popular corridors of Dubai City Center terminating at Al Sabkha bus station or Al Ghubaiba bus station. Passengers can avail the regular public transport bus services from the station at Al Ghubaiba, Al Sabkha or Gold souq (close to Al Sabkha bus station) to travel to other destination.

e-go cards

The public transport department also launched e-go card that provides a complete new mode of payment of bus fares. It is an easy-to-use, easy-to-load and easy-to-replace card.

e-go Cards are available for use on Public Transport buses under two options:

Period pass option: This multi-ride option is for the regular bus rider who desires to possess a monthly bus pass. Purse option: This option is available for travel throughout the bus network at a fare discount of 10%. For more details on these e-go cards, you can contact the Transport Department or visit any of the eight Public Transport bus stations

The Big Bus

Visitors can see the sights of Dubai onboard an open-top double decker bus as in Philadelphia and London. These buses have 44 seats upstairs and 28 downstairs and the tour includes a live English commentary. They operate seven days a week from 9am to 5pm and there is free courtesy shuttle service from selected beach hotels to and from the departure point, Wafi City. You can book tickets online.

Long Distance Buses

Buses also run from Dubai to other parts of the UAE and surrounding countries. One useful bus route runs to Hatta from the Deira bus station. To get to most other cities in the Emirates, take a Dubai Transport bus. There are two buses a day to Muscat, Oman. Balawi Bus Service runs to Jordan twice weekly and to Egypt on Wednesdays.

Air-Conditioned shelters

Dubai boasts the first air-conditioned bus shelter in the world, and about 1,800 hi-tech buses would be included in the public bus fleet in the next three years while the existing 500 buses would also be gradually replaced. The buses will include double-deckers and articulated (long) buses with higher passenger capacity.


The most common way of getting around Dubai is by taxi. They are cheap and easy to find. Metered taxis are recognizable by their uniformed drivers and cream colored cars. They are readily available, offer an efficient, relatively inexpensive service and are really the best way to get around. They can be flagged down on the street, pre-booked by telephone / online or picked up outside your hotel. Taxi drivers are usually familiar with the main souqs, shopping centers, hotels and major landmarks.

There are also non-metered taxis, with which you'll have to negotiate a fare. You can also call Dubai Transport for a taxi. Only the cream-colored Dubai Transport taxis are allowed to pick up passengers at the airport.

Long-distance taxis

These can take you to any other emirate on a shared or 'engaged' basis (which means you'll either have to wait until all five seats are filled or pay for them yourself).

Ladies Taxi: Women Taxi Drivers
January.2007 saw the into ruction of women taxi drivers in Dubai. According to Dubai's RTA, the women taxi drivers are in great demand and that the women taxi drivers are the perfect solution for women who do not drive and are forced to use taxis. Like Saudi Arabia and many other Arab countries, the Emirates has similar traditions and so women-operated taxis are highly popular among families who feel more comfortable if their women ride in taxis driven by other women.

In the first phase, around 50 modern taxis, having pink roofs, pink seats and interiors, and other features to give the vehicles a feminine touch, would be deployed at places frequently visited by women.

The taxis are available seven days a week and can be booked in advance. In addition, the taxis can be found at places that women frequent such as major shopping centers and from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. while their male counterparts work 12 or even more hours per day.

Water Taxis, the Abras

The heritage of Dubai and the traditional way of water transport is still being maintained by the Dubai Municipality through its Public Transport dept. by giving special attention to the preservation of Abras. Abras are wooden boats that have been a part of the maritime and sea-faring tradition of Dubai, and have survived the onslaught of other modern means of transport. Abra was, and is still, used as a mode of transportation in the Creek

The Dubai Creek is a natural deep water inlet which cuts through the centre of the emirate and is the historical focal point of life in Dubai. The short abra ride across the creek not only provides the commuter or tourist with one of the cheapest means of transport, but also the pleasure of experiencing one of the most picturesque views in the emirate.

Rowing Abra

There are about five abras that run on oar-power -- owned by the Dubai Road Transport Authority (RTA) and used for tourism and visitors with two stations: Creek Park Station and Public Library Station. Fares: Rowing Abra Dhs. 30 per hour. Crossing the creek Dhs. 1 per passenger.

Motorized Abra

It is small motorized dhow that can seat 20 passengers. About 150 Abras ply on two routes to and from 4 stations. The fare is cheap at 50 fils and the cruise across the creek takes less than 10 minutes. Pleasure trips are available at Dh 50 per hour. Officials are contemplating several improvements. A private company has converted an abra to run on solar power while maintaining its traditional look.


Passengers crossing Dubai Creek will no longer have to sweat it out because an air-conditioned 'water-bus' service is being introduced from July 2007.

Apart from the existing abras, the RTA will run air-conditioned water-buses with more capacity along the creek. The new service will be run using a catamaran low wash boat, with glass walls and comfortable seating for up to 35 people.

Car Rentals

There is no better way to enjoy your trip to Dubai then touring by car. Self-drive cars are available from car rental companies for visitors who have an international driving license. Many of world's leading car rental companies such as Hertz, Avis and Budget etc. have their presence in Dubai. To hire a car, a credit card, valid passport and International Driving Permit are required and the minimum age is 21 (drivers must have held a full license for one year).

Most of the shopping malls in Dubai have proper under ground parking facility. So parking should not be a big deal. However you must remember the parking area number where you have parked your car.

Driving in the UAE is on the right-hand side. You should not drink and drive. Do not to drive on the extreme right. This is a fast lane. Read street signs and watch for no-parking zones. Parking meters are charged from 7:00am-1:00pm and 4:00pm-9:00pm. During 1:00am-4:00pm, it is free of charge. Maps are available at all major bookstores at shopping malls. Filling stations are dotted all over the city and along Sheikh Zayed Rd. These are fully serviced.

Limousines are offered by the main car hire companies and Dubai Transport Corporation


Motorcycles are very rarely used, as it is very dangerous to ride a motorcycle here in the UAE. Motorcycles are mainly used by carrier services, as motorcycles have no problems getting through traffic jams to insure fast delivery.


Dubai has a rapidly growing population and severe traffic congestion problems. Dubai Municipality has identified the need for an urban rail system to supply additional capacity, relieve growing motor traffic and support the city's continuing development. Ground works for the project to equip Dubai's growing city with a high-capacity metro system began in February 2006, centered around a 52.1km Red Line. In August 2006 a second project worth US$.12bn was commenced for the construction of a 17.6km Green Line, intersecting with Red Line at two stations.

Green Line will link strategic locations in the city - namely Dubai Airport and Healthcare City - and the aim is to open this line in 2010, one year after the Red Line is due to open. Ultimately, Dubai Metro is looking to build a metro network of 318km.

Once in full operation, the Metro is projected to carry approximately 1.2 million passengers on an average day, and 355 million passengers per year. The Dubai Metro will be one of the most advanced urban rail systems in the world and will be the catalyst for tourism, financial and economic growth.

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