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How to use bus in Dubai, the complete guide!

How to use the public transportation bus in Dubai? What does a bus ride in Dubai cost? Are there buses to Abu Dhabi from Dubai? How to pay for a bus ride?

In this complete guide you will learn everything about using the public bus service in Dubai.

in Dubai
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About RTA bus in Dubai

Dubai bus

In addition to the frequent taxis and the self-driving metro, you can also use the bus to get around in Dubai. Just like the metro and taxis, this bus service is managed by the RTA Roads & Transport Authority.

In total there are more than 1,500 buses in Dubai. With 119 different routes, they provide 82% coverage for the city.

Besides the normal routes, there are also special bus connections, for example the 5 special connections that are used to bring passengers to Global Village and Miracle Garden. There are also 35 connections that take you from one metro station to another.

For people who want to travel to Abu Dhabi or another emirate in the country there are the Intercity connections.

What is Ain Dubai?

How to use the bus in Dubai

Nol Card

Just like the metro and the Dubai Tram, you can only travel by bus if you have a Nol card. In total there are 4 different Nol cards:

  • Red Nol Card – suitable for tourists who will only do 1 or 2 journeys
  • Silver Nol Card – the most used card for tourists who want to use public transport frequently.
  • Gold Nol Card – almost the same as the Silver Card but twice as expensive because you can take a seat in the more luxurious part.
  • Blue Nol Card – this personalized Nol Card is best suited for residents and expats in Dubai.

View here the extensive guide about the Nol Card

Red Nol Ticket
Silver Nol Card
Gold Nol Card
Blue Nol Card

Where to buy a Nol Card

You can buy a Nol Card at the counter in various bus stations and almost all metro stations.

With this Nol Card you can then easily use the bus, metro and tram by holding your Nol Card against the card reader.

Make sure that you do this when boarding but also when getting out. If you get out without checking out, the ride will continue to run, which means that the maximum rate will be deducted from your balance if you no longer check out the same day.

The 7 different zones that determine the rate of your ride

With 7 zones it is determined how much you have to pay for a bus ride. In total there are 3 rates:

  • a) Tier 1: travel in 1 zone or 2 zones if the distance is less than 3 km
  • b) Tier 2: departing in 1 zone and traveling to a neighboring zone
  • c) Tier 3: traverse three or more zones
How to use the bus in Dubai

Fares and prices of the RTA buses in Dubai

As we said before, the rate is determined by the 7 zones. The table below shows the rates that apply to most tourists. For all rates and prices you can go to the comprehensive guide of the Nol Card.

Red Nol Ticket

The Red Nol Ticket is only suitable for the very occasional traveler. If you are going to do more than 3 journeys, you are cheaper with a Silver Nol Card.

Red Nol Ticket
Chip Card
AED 2 ($ 0,55)

No matter which Red Nol Ticket you buy, you must always first purchase the chip card yourself! You can then recharge this card for 10 single journeys or 5 day passes. You are then obliged to purchase a new card again.

Red Nol Ticket
1 day pass
AED 20 ($ 5,45)

A full day of unlimited travel with one type of transportation, e.g. the bus!

1 zone Red Nol Ticket
1 zone
AED 4 ($ 1,10)

Travel within 1 zone or a distance of less than 3 km in 2 zones.

2 zones Red Nol Ticket
2 zones
AED 6 ($ 1,65)

Travel within 2 adjacent zones.

3 zones Red Nol Ticket
3 zones
AED 8,5 ($ 2,30)

Travel in 3 or more zones.

Silver Nol Card

Unlike the Red Nol Ticket, the silver Nol Card is not made of paper but of plastic, such as a credit card. The Nol Card can top up at a counter or a Nol Card machine.

You can also use this card for the metro, tram, bus, water bus, taxi and even public car parks! You pay a little more for this card, but the price per ride is a lot lower than with the Red Nol Ticket. The card is valid for 5 years!

Silver Nol Card
Chip Card
AED 25 ($ 6,80)

The first time you have to purchase the card, this costs you AED 25, of which AED 19 is added directly to the balance of the card.

1 zone Silver Nol Card
1 zone
AED 3 ($ 0,80)

Travel within 1 zone or a distance of less than 3 km in 2 zones.

2 zones Silver Nol Card
2 zones
AED 5 ($ 1,35)

Travel within 2 adjacent zones.

3 zones Silver Nol Card
3 zones
AED 7,5 ($ 2,05)

Travel in 3 or more zones.


Make sure that the minimum balance on your Nol Card is always AED 7.5! If you have a lower balance upon departure, you risk a fine (AED 200) from an inspector. This rule is there because of the maximum rate that can be charged if you cross 3 or more zones.

This does not apply to the Red Nol Ticket, as this is a prepaid day pass or ticket.

Top up Nol Card

Top Up Nol Card

To add a balance to your Nol Card you can go to the numerous vending machines present, some bus stops have a vending machine while others do not.

On the RTA website you can find a handy interactive map where there are counters and vending machines in Dubai to charge your Nol Card.

Top up Nol Card

The different types of buses

In total there are 4 different types of buses, 3 of which only differ in size or capacity, while the fourth only serves for transport between metro stations.

Every bus is wheelchair accessible. All buses are also equipped with a powerful air conditioning. This comes in handy during the warm summer months, when the temperature can sometimes rise to 50 °C!

Standard bus

Standard Bus

935 buses

The most common bus

Articulated Bus

Articulated Bus

339 bussen

The long harmonica buses

Double bus

Double Bus

170 buses

The bus with 2 floors

Metro Feeder Bus

Metro Feeder bus

70 buses

These transport all passengers to the metro stations

The different types of buses

Cooled bus stops

Bus stop back
Bus stop in the evening
A busstop in Dubai

All bus stops in Dubai are completely closed and are cooled with air conditioning. We may find it hard to imagine, but during the summer months the heat can feel very burning in full sun, which means that air-conditioning in a closed bus stop is no superfluous luxury!

Some bus stops also have a vending machine to charge your Nol Card.

Cooled bus stops

All major bus stations and opening hours

Busstation in Dubai
Bus in Dubai

List of all bus stations that serve as the start or end point of a route. These are almost always equipped with an accompanying cafeteria where you can eat something.

The opening hours of the various bus stations are almost all different, which is why we also provide these for a while. The opening time is when the first bus leaves, the closing time is when the last bus arrives.

You can also view this table on the RTA website, so you can always be sure of the latest changes.

Bus stationOpening timeClosing time
Abu Hail Metro Bus Station


Al Ghubaiba Bus Station


Al Jafiliya Bus Station


Al Karama Bus Station


Al Quoz Bus Station


Al Qusais Bus Station


Deira City Center Bus Station


Etisalat Metro Bus Station


Gold Souq Bus Station


Bus stationOpening timeClosing time
Hatta Bus Station


Ibn Battuta Metro Bus Station


Jebel Ali Bus Station


Mall of the Emirates Bus Station


Rashidiya Metro Bus Station


Sabkha, Bus Station


Satwa Bus Station


Sharjah Al Jubail Bus Station


Union Square Bus Station


All major bus stations and opening hours

All routes of the bus in Dubai

A list of the more than 100 routes of the RTA bus in Dubai, each with the start and end stations.

In total there are 7 different types of bus connections. For example, there are those who only drive, to and from metro stations, Feeder Bus Routes.

Types of bus connections:

  • Local Bus Routes: These buses run shorter distances but stop at every bus stop.
  • Feeder Bus Routes: Buses of this kind of route run to and from metro stations.
  • Express Bus Routes: With these buses you are slightly faster than with the Local Bus Routes. The buses only stop at the most important stops.
  • Night Bus Routes: The name says it all, these buses run during the night. These routes run to the 2 largest airports in Dubai, Al Maktoum Airport and Dubai International Airport.
  • Seasonal Bus Routes: In order to reach Global Village and Miracle Garden by public transport, these routes have been created. Because these 2 attractions are close to the desert, they cannot be reached by metro.
  • Intercity Bus Routes: With these buses you can drive from Dubai to one of the other emirates. A frequently used connection is that from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.
  • CBD Bus Routes: These buses generally run between old and new Dubai.

Express Bus Routes

  • 13B:

    Gold Souq Bus Stn – Al Qusais Bus Stn

    Express Bus Route
  • 91:

    Al Ghubaiba Bus Stn – Jebel Ali Bus Stn

    Express Bus Route
  • 91A::

    Gold Souq Bus Stn – Jebel Ali Bus Stn

    Express Bus Route
All routes of the bus in Dubai