Dubai Metro saves the budget traveler. Driverless trains run every 4-7 minutes every day from 5:00 a.m. to 1 a.m. On Friday mornings the train runs from 10 a.m.
There are currently two subway lines in the city:
- Red line: Between Rashidiya – UAE Exchange. Metro runs past Dubai International Airport, with Airport Terminal 1 and 3 stops away. Burj Khalifa / Dubai Mall station is also on the red line and it offers easy access to Dubai Downtown attractions.
- Green line: Between Etisalat Metro Station – Creek.
- In addition, there is a orange tramline in the Palm Jumeirah area.
Union and BurJuman stations serve as green and red line junctions where you can easily switch between lines.
Dubai’s entire public transport is divided into 7 areas serving as a pricing basis. The NOL card is used as a form of payment, from which the traveler has three options:
- Red card:
- Card price 2 AED
- Single trip in same zone: 4 AED
- Two zones: 6 AED
- More than two zones: 8,5 AED
+ Cheapest option, if you traveling one or at most a few trips
+ No minimum balance requirement (just one ride)
– When you buy a ticket, you have to decide how many zones you want to travel
– You cannot change transport mode during a single journey
- Silver card:
- Card price: 25 AED ( 19 AED for fare balance)
- Single trip the in same zone: 3 AED
- Two zones: 5 AED
- More than two zones: 7,5 AED
+ a suitable option if you want to travel more with public transport.
+ No need to know in advance the number of zones you need, when buying the card.
+ You can change the mode of transport (ie. bus to metro) in the middle of the trip within the changeover time.
– The card costs 6 AED, but you also need to top up it with 19 AED.
– When starging the journey, the card must have a minimum balance of 7.5 AED
- Gold card:
- Card price: 25 AED (19 AED for travel fares)
- Single trip in same zone: 6 AED
- Two zones: 10 AED
- More than two zones: 15 AED
+ Better seats
+ Better chance to get a seat, even during peak hours
In addition, there is a blue card for residents of Dubai.
The travel card is displayed tapped to the card reader when entering or exiting the metro station.
Dubai Metro has three different classes:
- Standard Class: The most used one and crowded during rush-hours. Red/Silver/Blue card holders, for men and women
- Women and Children: Women and kids may use this carriage. High chance of getting a seat even during peak hours. Men are not allowed, and will be fined 200 AED if caught. Women are guiding the wrongly placed men to the correct carriage with rigorous looks.
- Gold class: Leather seats, less crowded, yet double the price.
Beware of doing these in the metro
The Dubai Metro, like the entire city, has strict rules and fines. The picture below shows the forbidden acts with their corresponding fines:
Here are a few interesting prohibitions that the westerners might do:
- Putting feet on the seats: 100 AED
- Causing a disturbance or inconvenience in any way to users of Public Transport (what ever this means): 100 AED
- Carrying Alcoholic beverages: 500 AED
- Eating or drinking: 100 AED
- Using expired or invalid card: 200 AED
- Selling the card without a prior permission from the authorities: 200 AED
- Travelling in the gold class with a regular card: 100 AED
- Sleeping in the public areas: 300 AED
As long as you can avoid the fines, the metro is a sound and affordable way to move around in this extensive city.