Getting around Dubai
Dubai Bus (tel: +971 800 9090; www.dubai-bus.com) operates a modern public bus service on around 80 routes. Fares depend on destination and are paid to the driver upon boarding; it is useful to have the exact change ready. Timetables and bus maps are available from the bus stations in Deira and Bur Dubai. Routes and bus numbers are posted in both Arabic and English.
The Dubai Metro (tel: +971 800 9090; http://dubaimetro.eu) has two lines, the Red Line and the Green Line, with additional lines proposed, but not confirmed.
Dubai Tram (tel: +971 800 9090; http://dubaitram.rta.ae) opened in late 2014, connecting Dubai Marina with Al Sufouh.
Simple wooden boats, locally referred to as abras, cross the creek from Bur Dubai to the Al-Sabkha Station. These are operated by Dubai Municipality (journey time – 5 minutes) and are a good-value, enjoyable and useful way of avoiding a traffic-constricted road journey. Air-conditioned Dubai Waterbus (tel: +971 800 9090; www.rta.ae) also run across the creek but charge four times as much.
Nol smartcards (www.nol.ae) are valid on buses, trams, waterbuses and the metro.
You can hail air-conditioned taxis on the street or pre-book them by telephone. The Dubai Taxi Corporation (tel: +971 4 208 0808) operates metered taxis. Occasionally, drivers do not have detailed knowledge of the city and might ask passengers for directions so beware if you’re a new arrival. Fixed fares are applied to journeys outside the city boundaries. It is also possible to hire a taxi for half a day or a full day for sightseeing. Tipping is not expected.
Dubai has an excellent and well-signposted road network. Unfortunately, driving standards do not match the quality of the roads. Many local drivers travel at speed, change lanes with wild abandon and make sudden and dangerous manoeuvres. Accidents occur frequently and visitors are advised to drive defensively.
Traffic congestion is nothing like it was but can be a problem during the morning and evening rush hours, and in certain heavily populated districts such as Deira, or two-lane roads such as Al Wasl and Jumeirah Beach Roads. The Salik (Arabic for ‘clear’) road toll system has been a revenue-spinning success with drivers passing under gates on Garhoud and Maktoum bridges, Al Safa Interchange and near Mall of the Emirates deducted AED4 a time from their in-car tags. Drivers should note that there is an exit tax on leaving the UAE.
Two centrally located covered car parks are situated near the Spice Souk and Bani Yas Square in Deira.
A valid International Driving Permit, passport and credit card are required to hire a car in Dubai. Fully comprehensive insurance is essential. Drivers must be at least 21 years old, although the age limit is often raised to 25 years for more expensive models. Payment must be made by credit card. Major providers include Avis (tel: +971 4 224 5505; www.avis.com), Hertz (tel: +971 4 429 0915; www.hertz.ae) and Fast Rent a Car (tel: +971 4 430 5995; www.fastuae.com).
Considering the desert environment, cycling in Dubai is not advisable in the summer heat. Nevertheless, some hotels hire out bicycles and the city is in the process of developing a network of safe bikeways and off-road cycling tracks, with some sections already completed.
Dubai also has its own bikeshare system, Byky (tel: 800 3330, in the United Arab Emirates only; www.bykystations.com/en/dubai).