How to use the metro in Dubai?
In large cities you can usually use a metro network that makes the most visited places in the city easily accessible. Also in Dubai since 2009 this is the perfect means of transport to take you to the most famous places safely, quickly and cheaply. The body responsible for this in Dubai is the RTA or Roads and Transport Authority.
The RTA is the global body for public transport such as metro, tram and bus, but also the taxis in Dubai are controlled by the RTA.
What are the opening hours, how much does a day ticket cost, how do you buy a ticket, … In this guide we explain how the Dubai metro works and what you need to know about this means of transport in the emirate.
Dubai metro routes
The metro network in Dubai consists of 3 different lines: the Red Line, Green Line and the latest new one to be commissioned at the end of 2019, Route 2020.
Last new route will provide a connection to Expo 2020
The metro runs above ground more than half of all routes. This makes traveling with the metro even more pleasant due to the huge skyscrapers you encounter.
The Red Line is the longest route of the 3 and has a total length of 52 km. This is the most used metro route in Dubai. Dubai International Airport, Burj Khalifa, Mall Of The Emirates and Dubai Marina are just a few stations where the Red Line stops.
In total there are 29 stations on this route, 3 of which give you the option to transfer to another metro line, Union (18), Bur Juman (19) and Nakheel Harbor & Tower (38). It also has 2 stations with connections to the Dubai tram.
The green metro line runs along the two sides of the Dubai Creek. The route is therefore in the part where you can find the traditional souks.
It has 20 stations, two of which connect to the Red Line. The total length of this route is 22.5 km and therefore less than half the longer Red Line.
This route is specially made to connect the Expo 2020 and Dubai World Central with the existing Red Line. At the Nakheel station on the Red Line there is a connection to the new route.
The total travel time of the 15 km long route is 16 minutes and this along with 7 new stations, 5 above ground and 2 underground. Later there is the possibility to further extend this route.
In Dubai, all metro trains are driverless, which means that the trains run completely computer-controlled without a driver.
The trains have a maximum speed of 90 km / h which brings the average to 50 km / h due to the many stops.
3 different classes
Each metro set has 3 different classes, Regular or Standard, Gold and Women with children. Each metro consists of 5 trains of which 3 with standard class, 1 wagon with twice as expensive gold class and the latter is only intended for women with or without children.
As a woman you have no obligation but the right to take the special wagon, also the standard and gold class is accessible for women with children.
You can see the metro stations from far away by their curved roof, partly covered with a golden color. The stations are immaculate, you really can’t find any dirt!
Each metro station is also decorated in one of the 4 themes, air, earth, fire and water.
Different types of tickets
As in all major cities, the metro is usually the easiest and cheapest way to get around.
In Dubai, traveling by metro is also relatively cheap. The metro network is accessible with a prepaid chip card, as we know in other world cities. This chip card is called the Nol card.
There are 4 different Nol cards: Silver, Gold, Blue and Red. Of all these chip cards, only one applies to tourists and that is the Red Nol card.
You can charge this up to 10 single journeys or 5 daily passes, after which you must buy a new card.
Red Nol ticket
The chip card itself costs 2 AED ($ 0.50) and can be used for 10 single journeys or 5 day passes. The card is valid for 90 days and can be used for the RTA metro, tram and bus.
- Regular Class 20 AED ($ 5.5)
- Gold Class 40 AED ($ 11)
Single trip regular class:
- Tier 1: 4 AED ($ 1)
- Tier 2: 6 AED ($ 1.6)
- Tier 3: 8.5 AED ($ 2.30)
Single trip gold class:
- Tier 1: 8 AED ($ 2.2)
- Tier 2: 12 AED ($ 3.3)
Zones & tiers
Public transport in Dubai is divided into zones: if you only travel in 1 zone then you have Tier 1 for example.
Travel within 1 zone or adjacent zones if the journey is less than 3 km.
Depart in 1 zone and travel to an adjacent.
Cross three or more zones.
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Where and how to buy tickets?
Tickets can be purchased at any metro station at a sort of ATM. Here you can upload the desired ride on your Nol card. However, it may be a little awkward the first time because you don’t know how it works.
That is no problem, there is always a ticket counter with an employee in every station. Ask which ticket fits best for the ride or rides you want to do and he will give you the best solution.
If you do multiple journeys in one day, it is almost always cheaper to purchase a day pass, which will cost you 20 AED or about $ 5.5.
Once you arrive at the gates, after scanning you can continue to the platform of the metro.
RTA Smartphone app
With the RTA Wojhati Journey Planner app you can easily plan a route to your destination.
The app gives you all possible solutions to get to your destination. Times, stations, platforms, …
The Red and Green Line have separate opening hours: the longest route is open just a little earlier.
- Saturday to Wednesday 05:00 to 00:00
- Thursday 5 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- Friday 10:00 – 01:00
- Saturday to Wednesday 05:30 to 00:00
- Thursday 5:30 AM – 1:00 AM
- Friday 10:00 – 01:00
For any changes to opening hours or information about closed metro stations you can visit the RTA website.
The closing time has nothing to do with the last metro you can take. This means that the last metro that you can take must arrive at the end station somewhere on the route befor closing time.
An example: you depart from “Dubai International Terminal 3” and want to go to “UAE exchange”, then the last metro is at 11 p.m. For example, the metro arrives at the end station just before closing time. You can easily find out the last metro in each station on the RTA timetable.