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The Roads & Transportation Authority (RTA) is responsible for all public transportation in Dubai. The RTA operates buses, trains, taxis, water taxis and Inter-Emirate buses. In general, public transportation is safe to use, convenient and reliable.
With proper planning, it is easy to get around Dubai using public transport only. The RTA has an online tool to help travellers plan their trip.
Only cash may be used in a taxi, abra or Inter-Emirate bus. All other public transport requires passengers to use a Nol card.
Nol cards are prepaid smart cards that are used when travelling on the Metro, bus and water bus. There are four types of cards: Silver, Gold, Red and Blue. All cards can be reloaded with travel credits to avoid buying a new Nol card for each trip except Red cards, which are only valid for 90 days or ten trips.
A Nol card can be purchased and topped up at ticket offices and vending machines in Metro stations, RTA customer service centres and authorised sales agents. Additionally, Nol Blue cards can be purchased online.
Proof of identity is all that is required. For Nol Blue cards a passport sized photo is also required.
Dubai is divided into five separate zones to determine fees for buses and the Metro. Passengers are charged for each zone crossed, per single trip on each mode of transportation.
Children who are under the age of five and are below 90 cm in height travel for free.
Nol cards are easy to use. Simply touch the card to the card reader until a beep is heard. This signals that a person has enough credits to go through.
The Nol card must be presented upon entry and exit. If the card is not presented when exiting, a person is charged the maximum amount (AED 14) for the day.
Full time students and special needs passengers are eligible for discounted Nol Blue cards. Students aged 5 to 23 years must provide proof of enrolment at an accredited school in the UAE. People with special needs must have a permanent disability and submit proof of this from the Ministry of Social Affairs. Senior citizens discounts only apply to UAE nationals aged 60 and over.
Application for the card can be submitted online or at a Metro or bus station ticket counter. Cards are delivered via courier within two weeks.
Applicants must submit: