Getting around Dubai without a car

Just thought of dropping by quickly to share this with you.  We provide this list to our visitors.  By the way, my cousin just left and is now back in Manila.  In two days, I will have 7 visitors coming to this place we now call home.  Come to think of it, we’re going to be pretty busy this year. Our guest room was occupied in Feb, March and this month, April.  We’ll have visitors every month until November, taking a break in July to September, when we’re scheduled to go on holiday out-of-the-country.  Tourism is booming in Dubai!  My neighbor joked that I should open a bed-and-breakfast. Lol!

There are several options you can use to go around the city.  On foot is not something I would recommend for now, as temperatures have gone up.


Public Transport in Dubai is operated by the Road Traffic Association (RTA) and consists of the Metro, Buses and Marine Transport.

All of these are operated by a Nol Card system, which can be purchased and topped up at any of the stations except for travel in the abras and the taxis which are cash only.


This large and advanced bus network covering the city includes air-conditioned buses that have separate areas for women.  You’ll notice that many of the covered bus stops are air-conditioned 🙂

ac bus stop Photo: air-conditioned bus stop

I did take Lil T on the bus last year in November and ever since then he (more like “we”) would sing “Wheels on the Bus” as least five times a day! I haven’t taken him on the bus since but that remains to be his favorite song.


Presently operating 2 lines–Green Line and Red Line and operated by the use of Nol Cards either as:

Silver – general travel pre-paid

Gold – first class carriage

Red – Standard trip adult

Blue – Student and senior citizen (pre-registered)

These cards can hold up to AED500 and are valid for 5 years! Taking the metro is sometimes faster and more convenient than driving to certain places.  I find it worth it to invest on the Gold Card so I can get into First Class cabins, which is the metro’s version of an airplane’s business class section.

For bus timetables and routes please check:  You might also want to visit the Dubai Mall Metro Link.


An abra is a traditional wooden boat and the oldest means of transport in Dubai. They are boarded at the stations on the banks of the Creek and the major routes between the Shindagha/Al Ghubaiba on the Bur Dubai side, and the water station at Al Sabkha on the Deira side. The Abras depart every few minutes, and the fare of 1 Dirham and is paid to the ferry driver. abra abra2


This is Abra experience to the next level.  The Waterbus has more comfortable seats, is equipped with LCD screens and other features to add luxury and comfort to commuters on the Creek.


Dubai Taxi Corporation operates a fleet of over 3500 taxis in the city and are recognizable by their bright red roofs. They also have specific airport taxis which have Dubai International Airport logo on the cars. These airport taxis are allowed to connect to other Emirates in the Country. The taxis with pink roofs are specific to ladies and families of all nationalities and also have lady drivers.

Dubai Taxis franchises the operation of some taxis to other companies. The taxis are the same light sandy beige color but have different colored roofs as follows.

Green Al Arabia Taxi tel +971-4-2855566

tollfree 800-272242 also

White City Taxi

Blue Cars Taxi tel +971-4-2693344

toll-free 800-227789

Red Dubai Taxi tel +971-4-2080808

Orange Metro Taxi tel +971-4-2673222

Yellow National Taxi tel +971-4-3390002

Pink Ladies Taxi +971-4-2080808 have female drivers for females of families only.  They will not take unaccompanied men.

There are other taxi companies operating in Dubai and other Emirates that are not under the Dubai Taxis franchise, but they are far less common.

Some of them are:

Al Humaidi Luxury Transport, Jebel Ali, tel +971-4-8872996

Al Marmoom Tourist Taxi, Dubai, +971-4-3476656

Delta Taxi, Sharjah, tel +971-6-5598598

Emirates Taxi, Dubai, tel +971-4-3394455

Gulf Taxi, Dubai, tel +971-4-2236666

For more information please check:

When taking a cab, it is important to know where you are going, and not just the name of the street.  You cant just say “bring me to so and so restaurant on Sheikh Zayed Road,”–as the road happens to be over 500km.  I know it can be hard especially if you’re only here a few days, but there is chance you’ll come across a taxi driver as new in the city as you are.  Worse, he cant even speak English! Some of the drivers will even argue that your address doesn’t exist! Plus some roads are confusing like the Burj Khalifa St. and the Burj Khalifa Blvd which are just perpendicular to each other!  Show him a photo or mention a landmark. Or better yet, if you’re going to the house of a Dubai resident, have the resident give you directions.

If you are still considering to rent a car, be sure to read The Most Important Advice. Actually, car rental or public transport, please read that article I wrote a few months back.  It could save you from getting deported.


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