Getting Around in Dubai
Public transport in Dubai is the cheapest and the most popular mode of transport, preferred by lower income class travelers. Managed by the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), it includes public buses, inter-emirate buses, metro rail and taxi services. Bus and Train Ticket fares/passes are available online as well as on boarding. Routes and bus numbers are placed in both Arabic and English. While traveling in Old Dubai, Abras or Dhows are used as transportation to cross the Dubai Creek to the Al Sabkha station. Extremely cheap compared to other transport services, the Abras are revived as a part of a conservation program, running from Creek Park Station to the Public Library Station. Public Transport in Dubai is controlled by the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) which includes public buses, inter-emirate buses, metro rail and taxi services.
RTA operates an extensive web of public buses in Dubai working on 734 bus schedules on 79 bus routes. The custom built buses travel on planned routes during weekdays except for Fridays and public holidays when passenger demand is at its peak. Public buses are the cheapest way of transport, though not always feasible due to increasing traffic chaos. The government has made available easy e-swipe cards and discounts, but most tourists and locals prefer traveling by car, which is the obvious cause of the traffic congestion.
The most frequently used mode of transport, taxi services, is operated by the Dubai Taxi Corporation, part of the Roads & Transport Authority. Although there are public cab services available, DTC taxis are easily identified by their cream colour. Taxis are easily available and cheap as the fares are metered according to distance traveled. They are characterized by the services they offer that include airport transfers, special taxis for women, families and physically challenged and the regular taxis to hop from one destination to another. Presently the minimum taxi fare in Dubai is 10 AED and is less if they are booked in advance.
RTA operates and maintains an advanced, state-of-the-art Dubai Metro rail system, a much sought after transport option. It is a driverless, fully automated metro system built mainly underground to solve the traffic congestion in the city. Currently, the Red Line is fully operational covering stations from Al Rashidiya to Jebel Ali, traveling along the Sheikh Zayed road where most of the corporate offices and hotels are located. The RTA has introduced separate NOL cards for frequent travelers, first class travelers and tourists to pay for the tickets. These cards can be used for other modes of transport and parking as well.
Tourists in Dubai are partial towards Car rentals as it allows them to travel at their own convenience and privacy. Also, a national or international driving license is enough to hire a car making the procedure quick and easy. Moreover, today many websites provide for online booking of cars to pick up from the airport or alternatively to be delivered at the hotel. It is possible to rent 4x4 SUV to enjoy adventurous Desert Safaris or cars for long distance traveling beyond Dubai into another emirate. Dubai possesses an impressive and well signposted road network which makes getting about quite easy. In fact, traveling in Dubai by car is comparatively a low cost option since the petrol pricing is reasonably cheap in the Middle Eastern countries. It's important to remember, traffic regulations in Dubai are considerably strict. Have a good knowledge of the driving laws and regularly check the speed limit.