Dubai Metro: A guide on how to use Dubai Metro

The best way to get around the key sights of Dubai is by using Dubai Metro.

When I first moved to Dubai I was adamant that before long I’d have my own car and drive around the city. But since moving near to a Metro station I regularly use the Metro to get around Dubai and I’ve never looked back…


Dubai Metro
The futuristic Dubai Metro

10 reasons to use Dubai Metro….


Here’s why I love Dubai Metro…


1. It is always on time. I hate being late, I hate waiting for transport that doesn’t show. Dubai Metro is always punctual and never lets me down.

2. It is clean. You’re not allowed to eat or drink on Dubai Metro, and consequently it still looks brand new. There’s no danger of standing up only to find chewing gum stuck to your behind!

3. There’s a ladies only section! If you’re female, use this section, its usually less crowded, and lets face it who wants a guys sweaty armpit in their face?!

4. It avoids the infamous Dubai traffic. Who enjoys sitting in a car, waiting in queues of traffic inhaling the exhaust fumes from the cars in front while getting stressed you’re going to miss your appointment- not me!

5. It’s better for the environment and our health. Dubai has one of the highest rates of car ownership on the planet. All of those fumes are not exactly beneficial for our health, never mind the planet. Dubai Metro is a much greener mode of travel.

6. You can get some great city views! Its not like London’s rattling underground tube which feels like you’re a rat running through sewers. On the Dubai Metro you’re suspended above the City so you get some fabulous City views through the windows.

7. It takes you directly to the doorstep of many of Dubai’s main sights such as Dubai Mall, Mall of Emirates, Downtown and Dubai Marina.

8. It’s cost effective! Most of my journeys cost less than 6 dirhams. No longer am I spending 50 dirhams on taxis to get to the beach or the Mall.

9. It looks cool! Personally I love its futuristic design. It looks like something from a sci fi film.

10. Its safe. Sometimes the driving in Dubai leaves something to be desired! With the driverless Metro you don’t have to worry about bad driving!

Dubai Metro to Dubai Mall
Walking from Dubai Metro to Dubai Mall through air conditioned walkways

Okay so now I’ve sold the virtues of Dubai Metro to you, now for the practical stuff.


How to use Dubai Metro…


At any of the Metro stations you can go to the counter and purchase a Nol card or ticket.

If you fancy travelling in style, (well not exactly but its a bit quieter and you’re more likely to get a seat) then get a gold card. 

Or if you’re like me and happy with travelling cattle class, then get a plain old regular card, (which is silver so still looks fancy).

Both the gold and silver cards cost 25aed and include a usable balance of 19aed. However, the gold card charges more per journey.

The exact journey cost differs depending how many zones you’re travelling through.


Can I buy a one off ticket?

Yes you can buy a red cardboard ticket which you can use for a single journey. The cost will depend how many zones you use.

A day pass costs 25aed. So if you’re a tourist and will be using the Metro a lot in one day then go for this.


How to top up:

At the machine, just place your card on the holder and follow the instructions on the screen. Instructions are in Arabic or English. You can top up a minimum of 5aed. Be aware that you will only get a maximum of 20 dirhams change. Expect queues at peak times.


How do I plan my routes?

Dubai Metro - map
Check out the stations map above the doors

The routes change frequently, Dubai Metro is constantly expanding, and as a consequence a lot of the online information is outdated and inaccurate. Sometimes routes can close for maintenance. For example currently the Metro between JLT and Ibn Battuta is closed as they’re making improvements to it. However, a bus service is offered.

I usually find google maps the best way to plan my route as you can click on the public transport option and it gives me timings of the metros and details of the nearest stations to my route.

There’s also a Dubai Metro app which you can download on your phone although I don’t use it.


A step by step guide:

  1. Purchase a card at the counter, or if you want a day pass then you can get a card on the machine.
  2. Top up at one of the machines or the counter if required
  3. Go to the barriers and tap your card on the sensor so it opens and lets you through
  4. Follow the signs. The signs will show the final destination of the Metro line, so make sure you know the final stop.
  5. Go up the escalator, lift or stairs
  6. Look at the screen which will tell you how many minutes it is until the next Metro arrives
  7. Get on the Metro, and if you’re lucky get a seat
  8. Listen out for your stop, make sure you know the name of your stop. Preferably know the name of the stop before yours too- the Metros have maps above the windows and doors showing stops.
  9. Get off the Metro and go down the stairs, lift or escalators
  10. Follow the signs to your exit. Remember there’s often more than one exit. If in doubt ask.
  11. Tap your card to leave the barriers.
  12. Well done you’ve made it!



A ladies guide to using Dubai Metro:

Dubai Metro- Womens section
Women only!
Look out for the pink section. This is for ladies and children only, yes you do get the occasional clueless male wandering in, but men will get fined if they’re caught.

Its nice to have this safe space for women, particularly in peak hours when it gets very busy and people are crammed in like sardines.

The ladies sections are usually at one end of the Metro, the floor is painted pink near the ladies entrance so you can make sure you enter in the correct section.



When does the Metro stop running?

The times differ depending on the line (red or green) and day. Ask at the counter but usually around midnight.


So the Metro isn’t open all night then?

Nope, see above.

When does the Metro open?

The times differ depending on the line and the day of the week. Ask at the counter.

Timings do change regularly. According to the Khaleej Times as of November 2017:

Dubai Metro timings
From Khaleej Times

Is the nol card valid on any other modes of transport?

Yes you can use it on the tram and public buses.

However, if you have a red cardboard card (the one use ticket or day pass) you can either use this on the Metro/tram OR the buses.


What happens if I lose my card?

You will have to buy another, unless you purchase a blue card which is linked to your ID and protects the amount you put on it. However this costs 70aed (with a useable value of 20aed).


So there you have it. I highly recommend using Dubai Metro to get across the city at least once!


For more posts on Dubai check out my list of 100 awesome things to do in Dubai , 10 FREE things to do in Dubai, what to do at Dubai Mall and how to spend 48 hours in Dubai!


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Thanks for reading!

About The Author

Dubai Dreamer

Hi, I live and work in Dubai. I enjoy getting out and about and seeing what Dubai has to offer, travelling in my holidays and spare time – prepare for blog posts about this, and cooking vegetarian recipes. I am passionate about travel and animals.


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