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Transportation in Dubai

There are numerous options for public transportation services and most of the drivers speak some English, but their language may be limited. It is therefore very important you know exactly the address of where you are going so you can give them direction if necessary.

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Dubai Metro
Recently opened, the Dubai metro is a wonderful asset to establishing a life in Dubai. As the city grew from the desert sands it spread over 50 Kilometers with countless districts, roads under construction and aggressive drivers. The metro enables people to calmly travel the breadth of the city, and explore the layout and opportunities in this exciting city. The trains are computerized, immaculately clean, comfortable, safe and inexpensive. The green line is not operational however the signage is in place. Currently, the end station is Ibn Battuta, not Jebel Ali.

You can’t use the system (RTA) without a plastic travel card. There are 4 options available and all are explained on the internet. For general information look up, .  You can also go to any station that is operating and take from the acrylic rack a well written booklet, “The Handy Guide to Using Dubai Metro” or ask the station personnel in blue uniforms. They will answer all of your questions. You pay a sum for the card, then add credit that gets automatically deducted when you “tag” your card upon entry to the trains. All stations have well maintained washrooms, lifts and access for people with special needs.
No food or drink is allowed.

Dubai Bus System
The bus system is equally reliable however the routes change as the new metro stops become operational. Each metro station has feeder bus lines with route maps. You can collect the map from the acrylic rack in the station. There are 7 bus stations with customer service personnel. There is no purse-size map available as the routes change and expand however you can plan a journey by using

The bus stops are well signed and you push a stop button and “tag” your card to exit. The buses are clean, comfortable and divided with a woman and family only section in the front. No food or drink is allowed.

The NOL Card is a smart card that enables you to pay for the use of various RTA transport modes in Dubai with a single card. You can use your NOL Card (04 800 9090) to travel on Dubai’s Metro,Buses, Water Buses, as well as pay for RTA’s Paid Parking. NOL Cards are available in different types to meet everyone’s needs.

Abras: Basic wooden boats, locally referred to as abras, cross the creek from Bur Dubai to the Textile Souk area in Deira. These are operated by Dubai Municipality daily between 6am till midnight 0600-2400.

Taxis: Air-conditioned taxis can be hailed on the street or pre-booked by telephone. Metered taxis, operated by the Dubai Transport Corporation tel: 04 264 1111, are distinguished by their cream color and uniformed drivers.  Taxi companies are listed here.

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

Car Hire: A valid International Driving Permit, passport and credit card are required for one to hire a car in Dubai. Visitors from many European, North American and many Asian countries can obtain a temporary local driving license if they do not have an international license. A valid national license, passport and two passport-sized photographs are required in order to do this.

Vehicles are driven on the right side of the road as in Canada and the United States. You must have a Residence Visa before you can apply for a driver’s license. Therefore you will not be able to drive for up to one month. Only those entering the UAE on a Visitor’s Visa can rent a car or those holding a driver’s license issued by a GCC country. If your spouse has entered the UAE on a Visitors Visa, he or she can rent a car using an international driver’s license.
You can purchase a vehicle only after you have a Residence Visa and a UAE driver’s license.

If you have an accident in Dubai do not leave the scene of the accident. Contact the police immediately.When the police arrive, have your registration card and driver’s license ready for them and follow their instructions. You will be asked for your view of what happened, and then decide who was at fault. If the police decide you were at fault, you will be given a red accident form. If your are determined to not be at fault you will be given a green accident form. The form allows you to have your vehicle repaired. A garage cannot repair the accident damage without a form.

Driving Licence

Driving Licenses can be obtained by adult UAE citizens/residents after training from an authorized driving school in Dubai. If you are 18-21 year of age, you can apply for a probationary license.
The criteria is if you have never driven before or have a driving license that is not on the approved list then you must undergo training.
The countries from which citizens can transfer are: Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States.

In the west, you get out of your car and fill up the gas, wash your windows and then pay for the gas.
In the UAE, you sit in your car; a gas station employee fills up the vehicle, washes your windows and you pay him for the gas.
Credit Cards cannot be used to pay for petrol in the UAE, only cash.


Salik is Dubai’s electronic toll collection system which utilizes the latest technology to achieve free flow operation with no toll booths, no toll collectors, and no impact to traffic flow, allowing vehicles to move freely through the tolling point at highway speeds.

Each time you pass through a Salik tolling point, the toll of AED 4 will be deducted from your prepaid toll account using advanced Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.

Salik tolling points currently are – Garhoud Bridge, Maktoum Bridge, Sheikh Zayed Highway between Garhoud Bridge on the creek and Mall of the Emirates (towards Jebel Ali).

You can purchase a sticker for your car and top up your balance at most service stations withi Dubai.

– It is against the law to drive while speaking or texting/emailing on a mobile phone. Be sure to purchase a “hands free” accessory if you plan to use your mobile phone in your vehicle.
– Pedestrians always have right of way
– It is against the law to go on a red light.
– There are many roundabouts (traffic circles) in the UAE. The best rule of thumb is to stay on the inside lane if you are turning left, but edge to the right before you want to exit.
– Always signal. The vehicles ON the traffic way always have the right of way so be careful.While a policeman will rarely stop you for speeding, there are numerous hidden radar cameras. You must pay the fine when you renew your car registration or driver’s license. If you are renting a car and are ticketed for speeding you must pay the fine with your monthly rental bill.
– There is zero tolerance for drinking alcohol whilst driving. Police can legally stop you at any time to check.
– Driving in Dubai can be challenging. It is best to practice during a period with lower volume of traffic flow such as early Friday mornings.

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One Response to “Transportation in Dubai”

  1. ksie says:

    Very nice information, thanks a lot.

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