Finally, after a seemingly endless wait, in 2009 the first phase of the Dubai metro opened.
It is a fully air conditioned network of automated, driverless trains. In the first six months of its operation, it had carried over 10 million passengers. Its popularity continues to increase.
April 2010 saw the completion of the red line which runs from Al Rashidiya to Jebel Ali along the Sheikh Zayed Road covering a distance of just over 50 kilometers (approximately 30 miles). This line is served by 29 different stations.
A second line, known as the green line, is under construction with an expected completion date of August 2011. This line will run along the Dubai Creek through Deira and Bur Dubai. It will be just over 22 kilometers (14 miles) long with 18 stations. With the completion of the green line, Dubai metro will become the longest automated metro network.
Further lines are planned, but construction has not yet begun.
Each train consists of 5 cars accommodating a total of 643 passengers. The first car of each train is the Gold (VIP) car, the second car is for women and children, and the remaining three cars are silver class. You must show your ticket to enter the Gold car. Although the trains are driverless, each train has wardens who are able to assist passengers and will direct them to the appropriate car. The trains have space for wheelchairs, and the women and children car has space for strollers.
Trains run every ten minutes between the following times.
Saturday to Thursday: from 6am to 11pm
Friday: from 2pm to midnight
Planning your journey
The Roads and Transport Authority website has a map which will allow you to plan your journey using the metro http://www.rta.ae/dubai_metro/english/first-step1.html.
A journey planner is also available at http://wojhati.rta.ae/dub/XSLT_TRIP_REQUEST2?language=en. This allows you to search for the best route between stops, addresses, or landmarks.
Feeder buses are available to take passengers to the stations (see http://www.rta.ae/dubai_metro/english/first-step3a.html for routes). The larger stations also have free parking for passengers. In addition, taxis are available at all the stations.
Travel cards and tickets
To travel on the Dubai metro, you need to buy a Nol card or a Nol ticket. These can be bought and topped up from ticket vending machines or from RTA ticket offices.
You can use the Nol cards to travel on any type of public transport. You can even use them to pay for parking.
Nol silver card – AED 20. Can hold up to AED 500 worth of credit and is valid for 5 years.
Nol blue card – AED 70. Can hold up to AED 500 worth of credit and is valid for 5 years. The extra cost of this card is due to the fact that it is personalized with the passenger’s photograph.
Nol gold card – AED 20. Can hold up to AED 500 worth of credit. It can be used to travel in the gold cars on the metro.
Nol red ticket – AED 2. Can be recharged for a minimum of 10 journeys and is valid for 90 days. It cannot be used on other forms of public transport.
Cards are swiped as you go through turnstiles at the start and the end of your journey. The fair will be deducted automatically.
The metro network is divided up into zones. The price of the ticket will depend on the number of zones you travel through.
For Nol card holders, the minimum fare is AED 1.80 and the maximum is AED 5.80. For gold card holders, the minimum fare for gold class travel is AED 3.60 and the maximum is AED 11.60.
The costs for non-card holders who buy red Nol tickets, are AED 2.00 to AED 6.50. To travel in gold class, the minimum price of a ticket is AED 4.00 and the maximum is AED 13.00.
The maximum daily fare is AED 14 (excluding gold class), as no charge will be made for any additional journeys once that amount has been reached. Also, children under 5 years old can travel free.