dubai metro guide

How to use the metro in Dubai

When travelling to Dubai, you will want to find out how to traverse the city. How do you get from the airport to your hotel? Or your hotel to Dubai Mall? One of the easiest and cheapest ways to get around Dubai is by public transport – the Dubai Metro and Dubai busses. On this page you will get all the information you will need about the Dubai Metro.

What is the Dubai Metro?

Operating since 2009, the metro is one of the busiest transit networks in Dubai. With two lines, the green and the red, they run underground and above ground throughout the city. The metro has three classes – the Gold class (luxurious), the silver class (common) and a women and children class. The metro runs from 5 am to midnight on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It runs from 5 am to 1 am on Thursdays and from 10 am to 1 am on Fridays. The trains run very frequently – every 4 minutes during peak hours and 7 minutes otherwise.

The Red line lets you follow the main city highway – the Sheikh Zayed Road. Starting from the Rashidiya station (close to Dubai International airport – DXB), some of the key attractions in this line are Burj Khalifa, The Dubai Mall, Emirates Towers, Jumeirah Lakes Towers and Mall of the Emirates. The line terminates at the UAE Exchange station in the Jebel Ali area of Dubai. Most tourists will take the Red Line.

The Green line runs from the Etisalat station, which is in the Al Twar area to the Dubai Creek. Travellling by this line, you can visit the cultural highlights of Dubai such as the Al Fahidi Historical District, Deira and gold and spice souks. 

Why should you use the metro in Dubai?

how to use dubai metro

A lot of tourists steer clear of the Dubai Metro as they don’t know how to use the metro system in Dubai. There are, however, a lot of great pro’s about using the Dubai Metro.

Dubai Metro is four times cheaper than taking a taxi, saving you money

The Dubai Metro is very cheap. Even when you decide to travel first class, the Metro is at least four times cheaper than taking a taxi. Bar from taking a bus – which is great for short distances, the Dubai Metro is the cheapest way of getting around Dubai!

Dubai Metro is the fastest, easiest, and one of the safest ways to travel in Dubai

As mentioned before, taking the Dubai Metro is faster than taking the bus, and cheaper than taking a taxi. The Dubai Metro is, however, safe and clean as well. You are not allowed to eat or drink in the Dubai Metro which means it is always very clean inside the carriages. The Dubai Metro is also very safe – even for women travelling on their own. The platforms are clearly lit and there is CCTV in all the carriages.

With 70 kms and 32 stops, Dubai Metro has become one of the most convenient means to travel

The Dubai Metro has a lot of stops and gets you from point A to point B very quickly. Taking the Dubai Metro is very convenient. Although you will need to take a bus or taxi to get to and from the metro stops, the Dubai Metro gets you to your destination reasonably quickly.

Dubai Metro also has two stops at the International Airport (DXB) Terminal 1 and Terminal 3, making it easy for you to get to the airport.

Are you heading to the airport? Why not take the metro instead of an expensive transfer. The metro also lets you carry two pieces of luggage – one large suitcase (maximum 81cm x 58cm x 30cm) and one carry-on bag (maximum 55cm x 38 cm x 20cm).

The Dubai metro also provides free Wifi in cabins

Did you know there is free Wifi in the Dubai Metro? Just connect to the wifi and enter your UAE cellphone number. As a tourist you can get a UAE sim card for free when arriving in the airport.

The stations are named after important landmarks, neighborhoods and financial institutions.

As the stations are named after landmarks and areas, you will not have a difficult time figuring out the stops corresponding to certain places. This means it is very easy to get to your destination. If you are not sure what metro stop to get off at, you can always use Google Maps.

Downsides of using the Dubai Metro

Where using the Metro in cities such as Paris or London will get you fairly close to the biggest attractions, the same is not true for the Dubai Metro. Most metro stations are quite far from attractions. You will often have to take a bus or a taxi to and from your Dubai Metro stop. This can not only make travelling more expensive, but also ads travel time. Luckily busses serve metro stations fairly frequent and most metro stations will have taxis waiting.

The walk from the metro station to Dubai Mall is also quite long. True – the walk is in a covered walking bridge with electric walkways. Still – a brisk walk from the metro station to the mall will take you about 8 minutes using the electric walkways. Other people report it takes 15 minutes for them to walk the bridge at a normal pace.

dubai metro gold class

Should you ride first class in Dubai Metro?

As long as you are not on a budget it is always advisable to travel first class or gold class on Dubai Metro. The Gold Class carriage is bigger, less crowded, and the seats are more comfortable.

It is best to travel in gold during peak hours, as you are more likely to find a seat and it is less hot. It is also only slightly more expensive than the others. Consider using the first class from 6 am to 8:30 am and 5 pm to 7 pm.

How much does a Metro ticket cost in Dubai

Using the Dubai Metro is quite cheap. There are seven zones on the Dubai Metro network and at the end of the journey, your fare is calculated based on the number of zones you passed. Also, there are daily passes that allow unlimited travel.

The two convenient options for a tourist are the red card and the silver card.

  • The red card: Costs only 2 AED. It can be loaded with up to 10 trips or 5 daily passes and comes with a validity of 90 days. The day pass can be obtained for 20 AED.
  • The Silver card: Or get a silver card which costs 25 AED. It will be loaded with 19 AED and can be recharged as and when required. The silver card is valid for 5 years and can also be used if you are visiting again soon
  • The Gold Card: This card will allow you to travel gold class. This card costs 25 AED to purchase where you will receive 20 AED in credit.

Personal suggestion would be getting a silver card or a gold card, as the red card and the day passes are often confusing. Additionally, trips are more expensive on the red card for some reason.

The tickets also come as Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3, with each tier having a different rate.

  • Tier 1: Single Trip in the same zone
  • Tier 2: If your trip starts in one zone and end in the adjacent zone
  • Tier 3: If your trip spans more than 2 zones.

Silver Card

Gold Card

Red Card 

Tier 1 




Tier 2


10 AED


Tier 3

7.5 AED

15 AED

8.5 AED

dubai metro map

What are Nol cards?

NOL Card is another name for the electronic ticketing card you use to access the Dubai Metro – the red, silver or gold cards. 

Nol is the Arabic word for ‘fare’. Nol cards can be used on amy of the public transport networks in Dubai. 

Where to buy NOL cards?

Nol cards and tickets are available at all the metro stations, bus stations and some supermarkets like Spinneys and Carrefour. The card can be topped up using the vending machines or through the ticket counters at metro stations.

Please keep in mind that you won’t get refunds of any unused money. So, recharge in small amounts.  

What other things can you use NOL cards for?

NOL cards can be used for any kind of public transport in Dubai. You can also use NOL cards to pay for parking in Dubai. 

NOL Cards can be used for 

  • Metro 
  • Busses 
  • Taxis 
  • Dubai Tram
  • Inter-Emirate busses
  • Parking 
  • Water Busses


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