ES Dubai - Complete Guide to Travel by Dubai Metro
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Complete Guide to Travel by Dubai Metro

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If you’ve clicked on this article, chances are you’re either planning a trip to the glittering city of Dubai or are already there, looking for ways to effortlessly navigate its extensive metro system. Dubai Metro, with its futuristic trains and ultra-clean stations, is an experience. Whether you’re a first-time rider or someone looking to refine their commute in the city, here are some foolproof tips to make your journey smoother!

1. Know the Lines

Dubai Metro currently has two main lines and a branch line:

Red Line: This is the main line that runs between Centrepoint and Expo 2020. This is the line you’ll be using if you want to visit landmarks like the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, and the Dubai Marina. The metro station closest to our English language school in Dubai is DMCC.

Branch Line: The branch line covers a shorter distance between the Jabal Ali and UAE Exchange stations. You can interchange this line with the Red line at the Jabal Ali metro station.

Green Line: Serving the historic heart of Dubai, this line operates between Creek and Etisalat. It’s your gateway to old souks, Dubai Creek, and the traditional abra boats, serving areas such as Deira and Bur Dubai. The common stations to interchange between the Red and Green lines are Burjuman and Union.

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Source: Official RTA website (; as per the data available as of October 2023

A helpful tip? You can check the detailed Dubai metro timetable as well as timings of the last metro from any station on the RTA website. Remember, the timings can change on public holidays, so a quick online check is always a good idea!

2. Get Your Hands on a Nol Card

Before you even think about hopping onto a train, get yourself a Nol card. It’s Dubai’s smart card system used for various forms of public transport. They come in different varieties:

Red Ticket: A paper ticket for a single journey.

Silver Card: Ideal for regular riders. It’s a stored-value card that holds a balance that you can top up and even offers a slight discount on fares compared to the Red Ticket.

Gold Card: For those who like a bit of luxury! This card allows you access to the Gold Class cabins, which are more spacious and plush.

Personal Card: The personal Nol card is like your special key to Dubai’s transport world, customised just for you with your photo on it. It’s super convenient, making every ride around the city a breeze!

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Source: Official RTA website (; as per the data available as of October 2023

All cards are not only usable in the metro but also in buses, trams, and water buses. You can buy and top up these cards at metro stations, select bus stations, and even online through the RTA website. For further comfort, students can also purchase Nol cards at the ES Dubai reception. Students can enjoy 50 % off on regular fares with a special Nol card. Check out the complete details of Nol fares and prices here.

How to Use a Nol Card?

Let’s explore the super-easy process of using the Nol Card. First things first, ensure your card is loaded with enough credit. A minimum balance of 7.5 AED is essential to start a journey using public transport in Dubai. As you enter a metro station or board an RTA bus, you’ll spot these sleek card readers. Give your Nol Card a quick tap against them. You’ll hear a beep and see a green light—voilà, you’re checked in! When you’re done with your journey, simply tap out the same way. The system will automatically deduct the correct fare. Always remember to tap out, or you might be charged extra.

3. Metro Zones and Nol fares

Dubai Metro is divided into 7 zones. Each zone comprises certain metro stations and areas within the city. The fare varies as you journey from one zone to another.

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Source: Official RTA website (; as per the data available as of October 2023

4. Switch to Tram

The Dubai Tram is a sleek, modern tram that winds its way through some of Dubai’s most scenic spots, especially around the Marina and JBR areas. It is super user-friendly, with clear signs and announcements, so you’ll always know where you’re headed. And the best part? It connects to the metro through DMCC and Sobha Realty metro stations.

5. Travel Off-Peak

Dubai Metro can get crowded, especially during peak hours (7 am – 9 am and 5 pm – 8 pm). If you have the flexibility, try to ride outside these hours for a more comfortable journey.

6. Respect the Cabin Rules

Dubai Metro has specific cabins dedicated to particular passenger categories and rules to ensure everyone’s comfort.

Women and Children Cabin: Exclusively for female passengers and children under 5 years. This is generally the first cabin on the train and is marked clearly.

Gold Class Cabin: Remember that Gold Nol Card? This cabin is where it comes into play. Reserved for Gold Card holders, it’s often less crowded and offers plush seating.

Keep It Clean and Tidy: There’s a reason Dubai Metro stations and trains look so pristine – eating, drinking, and chewing gum are prohibited. Kindly respect these rules. After all, who doesn’t love a clean train? Plus, violations can attract fines. So, save that snack for later and enjoy the ride!

7. Stay Connected

Dubai Metro stations offer free Wi-Fi! Whether you’re looking to post that selfie, check your emails, or finalise your day’s plans, you can do it all while waiting for your train.

Be Prepared for Security Checks
For safety reasons, random security checks can happen. Don’t be alarmed; it’s a standard procedure to ensure the safety of all passengers. There’s a gentle reminder to always carry a valid ID. It’s quick and provides everyone’s peace of mind.

8. Useful Apps

There are some nifty apps you absolutely must have on your trusty smartphone. First up, RTA Dubai – this is the official app of Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority. It’s your one-stop-shop for all transport: metro, buses, trams, even water taxis! Next, Dubai Metro is super user-friendly, helping you easily navigate the metro lines. And let’s not forget S’hail (IOS and Android). It’s a gem, giving real-time updates, trip costs, and even traffic conditions.

Dubai Metro isn’t just a transport system – it’s an experience, a glimpse into the panoramic views of the city’s iconic skyline. You’ll witness the ever-evolving architectural marvels while comfortably seated in an air-conditioned train commuting to your English language institute in Dubai. With these tips, you can conquer the rails like a pro.

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