Dubai, in my humble opinion, has one of the most easy-to-use, clean, comfortable, and safe metro systems I’ve seen yet. Sure, it might not be open 24 hours a day, but what it lacks in after hours service, it makes up for in efficiency. It’s also inexpensive and offers breathtaking views of the city.
So to aid you in getting around town, I present to you (drum rolls please) the Super Simple Dubai Metro Guide.
The Dubai Metro has 2 lines: the Red Line and the Green Line. The Red Line runs from: Rashidiya to UAE Exchange (formerly Jebel Ali as exhibited on the map). The Green Line runs from Etisalat to Creek. The transfer stations are Union Square and Burjuman. Click on the image to enlarge.
Step 1: The first thing to getting around the metro is figuring out which station is closest to your from and to destination point. This can easily be done by consulting my dear friend, Google Maps, or by asking your hotel concierge. Make sure you note which color line you’re on (Red or Green), and if you need to make a switch at any of the 2 transfer stations.
Step 2: Once you’ve identified which station you need to be at, and make your way over there, you will need to purchase a metro card, also referred to here as your NOL ticket or card.
You can easily do so at the metro stations by buying one from the ticket agent at the ticket office (other options are available, but again, I’m keeping it simple). There are 5 different types of NOL cards sold which vary depending on class, frequency and personalization. They’re called the Red Ticket, Silver Card, Gold Card, Blue Card, and Personalized Gold Card.
For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to focus on 2 of the 5 (Red Ticket and Silver Card), which I believe are best suited for both short-and long-term visitors. If you want to learn about the other tickets, check out the following link: http://www.nol.ae
The NOL Red Ticket and Silver Card are both great options for visitors. The Red Ticket can be used up to a maximum of 10 trips or 5 daily passes. So if you think you’ll be making more than 10 trips on the metro, then you should opt for the Silver Card instead. The fares typically include the price of the card itself, and credit that you can use for your trip (so don't lose your card).
Step 3: So now that you know which card is best suited for you, waltz over to the ticket office, and inform the ticket agent, that you’d like a one or two way Red Ticket or Silver Card from your current metro station to your desired end point (or the daily pass for your required no. of zones). The agent will inform you of the fare, which is payable via cash or credit card. Once you’ve made the payment, you will receive your ticket/card, which you will now use to enter the metro gate by tapping it on the card reader.
Step 4: Once you enter at this point, put your card back in your bag or wallet, as you will need it later when checking out of your destination stop. From here, you will either go right or left depending on the direction you’re headed and head towards your metro.
Now, as you’re waiting for your metro to arrive, make sure you are standing in front of the correct entry point, as there are different classes (Gold Section exclusive to Gold Card holders only, and a women only section). When it does arrive and you manage to enter, make sure you keep an eye on the TVs hosted on the poles or listen to the announcements made regarding the station names, so you know when to get off.
Step 5: Once you’ve arrived at your destination, exit the metro and make your way to the station exit gate. This is when you’ll need to bring out your NOL card again and tap it on the card reader so that your fare gets deducted. Now stow it safely again back in your bag or wallet for your next trip, and enjoy wandering in the city!
A few other metro facts:
- The metro operating hours are from 6AM to 12AM from Saturday to Wednesday, 6AM to 1AM on Thursday, and 10AM to 1AM on Friday. Hours may change during public holidays. To confirm the operating hours, please contact RTA at 8009090.
- The metro is accessible for passengers with special needs. Lift access is available, as well as dedicated spaces for wheelchair users.
- For visitors using the metro from Dubai International Airport, you can carry up to 2 suitcases which should be no larger than H58 x W81 x D30 cms. The luggage must be stowed in the dedicated areas, found in each cabin.
- The metro has several rules and policies, which users must adhere to, or face various fines. Notable ones include eating and drinking, chewing gum, entering cabins reserved for others (again, Gold Class cabin is only for Gold Card holders), sleeping in any place in the public transport environment, and failing to produce your NOL card.
For alternative methods of transport, you can hail cabs from the street (all cabs here have parking meters, if one doesn’t, get out), pre-book a cab by calling +9714 208 0808, or use the local cab hire app Careem with discount code 'wanderwithcareem' to get 20% off your first 3 rides. Click here for more details.
Hi! I'm Nada. A Dubai bred expat & founder of Wander With, a tour guide company in Dubai. I want to show you just why, I and many others who live here, love this city.