During your stay in Dubai, you will certainly have to use public transportation. For all your travels in this vast city, you will need to use a rechargeable card: the NOL Card Here's a quick guide on how this transport ticket – which will allow you to use buses, subway, streetcar, water buses and abras to get around Dubai – works.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT PRICES IN DUBA
In order to know which type of ticket is best for you, you first need to understand how the fare system works in Dubai.
Dubai's network is actually divided into different zones:
- The shortest trips, which stay within a single zone, usually cost AED 3 (about $0.80 or €0.70). With this kind of trip, you can make a maximum of one connection within 90 minutes.
- For trips crossing two zones (with a maximum of 3 connections and within 180 minutes), the fare is AED 5 (about $1.40, or €1.20)
- For trips crossing more than two zones, the fare is AED 7.50 (about $2.05, or €1.80).
This makes public transportation in Dubai very affordable.
On your NOL Card, you can load the amount of your choice in travel credits, but you can also choose to load an unlimited pass to use the transport at will for 1 day or a whole week:
- 7-day unlimited pass (1 zone): 50 AED ($13.20 or €12)
- 7-day unlimited pass (2 zones): 80 AED ($21.80 or €19.20)
- 7-day unlimited pass (all zones): 110 AED ($30 or €26.40)
You can buy your tickets directly on the official website of Dubai Public Transport (RTA).
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF NOL CARD
Depending on how often you plan to use public transportation in Dubai during your trip, you will need to choose the version of the NOL Card that best suits your needs.
Whichever version you choose, you will get a ticket or card containing a certain amount of travel credits. The amount of each trip you take will be deducted from your ticket balance, and each time you use your ticket to enter or exit a station, you will be able to check your remaining balance.
the NOL Red Ticket
The red ticket is the most basic version of the NOL Card. This is the ticket that may be useful for a very short stay, or if you intend to use Dubai's public transport network on a very occasional basis.
The NOL Red Ticket can be used for a single trip, and can also be loaded at the time of purchase with 10 trips or 1 unlimited day passvoyages. However, this ticket is not reloadable.
the NOL Silver Card
If you're staying in Dubai for a few days and want to get around the city easily, the NOL Silver Card is probably the best option for you. You can use it to travel with any vehicle in Dubai's public transport network, and even in some parking lots or to pay for cab rides.
Unlike the Red Ticket, this is a smart card, which can be loaded and reloaded at will.
It cannot be obtained at all machines, but like the other NOL Cards, it can be purchased at ticket counters and at some of the vending machines located at the airport terminals, at all subway stations and even at the main bus stops in Dubai.
The NOL Silver Card costs AED 25 ($6.80, or about €6) to purchase. Right from the start, it includes AED 19 in travel credits. To travel with your Silver Card, it needs to be loaded with at least 7.5 AED, and it will be valid for a period of 5 years.
the NOL Gold Card
This formula is exactly the same as the NOL Silver Card, but it will also allow you to travel in first class. With this NOL Gold Card, you will be able to use the GOLD Class cars Dubai Metro – these cars are more spacious and comfortable.
This card also costs AED 25 to purchase ($6.80, or about €6), contains AED 19 of travel credits upon purchase, and will be valid for 5 years. First class travel costs twice as much as a trip with a NOL Red Ticket.
the NOL Blue Card
This last formula is identical to the Silver Card, but it is a customizable card, with a photo of the user. It is used only by people residing in Dubai, and is currently the only card that can be reloaded via the Internet.
The standard version of the NOL Blue Card costs AED 70 (a little over $19, or €16) and contains AED 50 in travel credits. The Gold version of this card, for first class travel, costs AED 80 (about $22, or €19) and also contains AED 50 in travel credits.