Dubai Metro - Complete Guide. Trains, Timings, Fares & Passes.

Dubai Metro

December 2020 Update:

It has been officially confirmed that the new addition to the Dubai Metro will be operational on January 1st, 2021. In this phase, four stations will be functional which are Jebel Ali (interchange station), The Gardens, Discovery Gardens, and Al Furjan Station. Trains will run at a ten-minute interval. Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced this on the official Twitter handle of RTA.

Dubai Metro

The Dubai Metro system is one of the various means of transport in Dubai. It is no doubt an integral aspect of the city’s liveliness, as a result, cannot be intentionally omitted when talking about the city’s features. Since the inception of the Metro in September 2009, it has drastically ignited a great positive impact in the portrait of the city. Moving around the city is now easier and cheaper. The system started with a single route when it was introduced back in 2009, and another was added in 2011.

Before talking about the daily time of operation, I’ll like to introduce you to routes taken by the trains, which brings us to the Dubai Metro Map. 

Mode of Operation (Understanding the Metro map)

The mode of operation of the trains is dependent on the route which is assigned to them on the map, these routes are called “Lines”.  As seen on the map, we have the “Red Line” and the “Green Line”.

  • The Red Line extends from “Al Rashidiya” down to “Jabel Ali” and vice-versa.
  • The Green Line on the other hand extends from “Etisalat” down to “Creek” and vice-versa.
  • A new line is being launched that starts from “Jabal Ali” to the “Expo 2020” site.

Each of the circles represents different train stops. These trains stops are spots where the train pauses to enable passengers to alight (when they get to their respective destinations). Meanwhile, both lines meet at two spots in the city; Burjuman and Union. Due to the intersection here, these two areas tend to be very busy. They are the busiest train stops in the city. 

To board these trains is very much easy, All you have to do is visit the platforms that are available for your proposed destination, there are two platforms for each line. For the Redline, the available platforms for boarding are; Al Rashidiya and Jabel Ali (also known as UAE Exchange), while the available platforms for the Greenline are; Etisalat and Creek. These are the starting and ending points of the trains. So, it is important to study the map closely to know which one leads to your destination to enable you to decide the platform where you’ll board the train. Interestingly, the metro system scheduling is so perfected that a train is always available to board at every station every 5 minutes. In Redline on weekdays, the interval reduces to 2 minutes.

List of Dubai Metro stations

The list below is arranged according to how the areas follow each other through from the starting point (first platform) to the last point (Last platform).

The metro stations along the red line are:

Al Rashidiya Business Bay
Emirates Noor Bank
Dubai International Airport (Terminal 3 ) FAB (First Abu Dhabi Bank) (Previously FGB)
Dubai International Airport (Terminal 1 ) Mall of the Emirates
GGICO Mashreq (Previously Sharaf DG)
Deira City Center Dubai Internet City
Al Rigga Nakheel
Union Dubai Marina
Burjuman DMCC (Previously JLT)
ADCB (Previously Al Karama) Jabal Ali (Previously Nakheel Harbour & Tower)
Al Jafiliya Ibn Battuta
World Trade Center Energy
Emirates Towers Danube
Financial Center UAE Exchange
Burj Khalifa / Dubai Mall

The metro stations along the green line are:

Etisalat Banyas Square
Al Qusais Gold Souq (Previously Palm Deira)
Dubai Airport Freezone Al Ras
Al Nahda Al Gubaiba
Stadium Al Fahidi
Al Qiyadah Burjuman
Abu Hail Oud Mehta
Abu Baker Al Siddique Dubai Healthcare City
Salah Al-Din Al Jaddaf
Union Creek

The metro stations along the new purple line are:

Jabal Ali (Previously Nakheel Harbour & Tower) Jumeirah Golf Estate
Gardens Dubai Investment Park
Discovery Gardens Expo 2020 Site
Al Furjan

Dubai Metro Zones

From the Metro map, you will notice that the city is subdivided into 7 zones. The metro currently runs across four zones which are Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 6, and Zone5. You should know that the cost of your journey is directly proportional to the number of zones you pass through before arriving at your destination. Meanwhile, The charging system does not only apply to the Metro but also applicable to other means of transportation like the use of Buses, Tram, and Water buses. I’ll still talk briefly about the fares, so make sure to read on. 

Dubai Metro Timings

Dubai Metro operates all through the week. Meanwhile, both lines have a different time they open and close daily. Below is detailed information on the official open and closing hours. 

  • From Saturday till Wednesday trains operate from 5 am (Red Line) / 5:30 am (Green Line) till 12:00 am (Mid Night).
  • On Thursdays trains operate from 5 am (Red Line) / 5:30 am (Green Line) till 1:00 am (Next Day).
  • On Fridays, both Red and Green line trains operate from 10 am till 1:00 am (Next Day).

Last train timings are as follows:

  • The last train on Red Line from Rashidiya to UAE Exchange or the other way around is at 10:54 PM on Saturdays till Wednesdays. On Thursdays, it is at 11:56 PM. On Fridays, it is at 11:53 PM.
  • The last train on Green Line is at 11:24 PM on Saturdays till Wednesdays (From Etisalat to Creek) and 11:21 PM (from Creek to Etisalat). On Thursdays and Fridays, it is at 12:22 PM (From Etisalat to Creek) and 12:20 PM (from Creek to Etisalat).

Dubai Metro Fares

The minimum fare for the Dubai Metro or Bus is AED 3 for a standard card if you travel in one zone. If you travel to two zones, you must pay AED 5. If you travel 3 or more zones, it is the maximum charge for a one-way trip of AED 7.5. Note that you need a minimum of 7.5 AED on your card to be able to begin the journey.

If you do not have AED 7.5 in card the metro gates won’t open and by bus, it would beep an alert. Please note that there are periodic ticket inspectors on the bus and in the metro, travelling without the required minimum balance will be punishable by fines.

Where to recharge Dubai Metro/Bus cards?

Metro cards and Bus cards are the same. They are NOL cards. You can recharge them in the machines available at the metro stations. In every station, there is a minimum of two machines. and in Intersection stations such as Burjuman and Union, there are at least 6 machines. Or you could go to the counter and recharge it with the counter executive. Both Cash and Cards are accepted in machines/counters.

Please note that Due to COVID-19, counters only accept card payments. Cash payers must use the machine.

There are ticket counters in Bus Stations as well where you can recharge from the counter or the machine. Apart from these, there are recharge machines in several small bus stops across Dubai. However, not all bus stops have it.

NOL Cards

To have access to any public transportation system in Dubai, you will have to procure an electronic access card which is known as the Dubai NOL card. This card is required for seat reservations on the Metro trains. Amazingly, the card is not only useful here, but it is also useful to access varieties of RTA services like Parking fees, taking taxis around the city, as well as for water buses.

Presently, there are five different varieties of NOL cards in Dubai. These varieties are due to benefits attached to them and the purposes they serve which supersedes one another, thereby having different costs according to your budget. Below are the different types we have; 

  1. Red Card: this is the cheapest of all tickets. It is usually for tourists as it can be loaded with 10 trips or 5 passes and only has a validity period of 90 days.
  2. Silver card: This type is available to both tourists and residents. This card can be loaded with a maximum of AED 1000 and has a validity period of 5 years. 
  3. Gold card: This specific type is available for both residents and tourists that prefer a gold class experience. The only difference it has compared to the silver type is the advantage of boarding first class. It can also be loaded with a maximum of AED 1000 and has a validity period of 5 years
  4. Blue Card: popularly known as the Personalized card, always carries the user’s picture. This card type is only available to residents especially people who use public transport frequently. It is available for concession fares (discount rates exclusive to students, senior citizens, and the disabled). AED 5000 worth of credit can be loaded on it and it has a validity period of 5 years. 
  5. Customized card: This is a card that comes with a customized design. possessing this card, you have the choice of using the gold cabin for an exclusive experience

As said earlier in this piece, your travel fare is estmated depending on the number of zones your journey cuts across and is deducted automatically from your card after checking out.

Checking-in into the metro:

  • Make sure to have the minimum balance available on your card (usually AED 7.50) 
  • Register your NOL card by placing it on the card reader available at the gates
  • A beep or green light shows your check-in was successful
  • Head straight to your registered cabin

Checking-out of the Metro:

  • After alighting from the train, re-register your card again by placing it on the card reader situated at the metro station where you came down.
  • A beep or green light affirms that you’ve been checked-out successfully.

After a successful check-out, the system automatically makes estimations and deducts the total cost of your trip which is a function of the zones traveled through, and the cabin registered.

Dubai Metro is connected with Buses as well. If you board a bus immediately after the metro travel to continue your journey in the same zone you will not be charged additionally. However, if you cross the zone, the charges will apply.

Dubai Metro Cabins

The cabin in the trains is divided into three sections which are 

  1. The Standard Class: this is like the normal general level class which is available to the common man. You can have access to this cabin with any of the NOL card you possess, it is open to everybody. 
  2. The Ladies and Kids cabin: This specific space is exclusive to ladies and kids, no male adult is expected to be seen here. You can also have access to this cabin with any of the NOL cards you possess. 
  3. Gold Class: This third category is the specially reserved space (more like First class). It is more comfortable, has more space and of course, extra charges are involved compared to the other available cabins. It is always less crowded. This space is situated at the front. Only people who possess the gold NOL card have access to this particular cabin. 

Whichever cabin it is you can afford, trust me you would enjoy the ride to your destination. 

Rules and regulations guiding the Dubai Metro

It is of a popular saying that;” wherever there is no law, nothing is seen as a sin”. In the case of Dubai, Every public transport is being monitored. Therefore, there are Do’s and Dont’s that guide their operation. Some are mild (they are disliked, but if you do them there is no penalty to it), while some can be very severe that they attract fines if caught in the act. So you have to be very careful, but how do you know you are doing the wrong thing if you don’t even know the rules. Below are a few things you should note while making use of the train for travel. 

  • While boarding, make sure to enter the right cabin as registered on your NOL card. Entering a wrong cabin can result in a penalty (fine can be up to AED 100) 
  • Never push the emergency button in the absence of emergencies, if caught in the act, you can be fined AED 2000. 
  • Eating and Drinking in the metro is not allowed 
  • Chewing gum is prohibited. If caught, the fine is AED 100 (I have paid this fine. Feels bad! So Don’t do it.)
  • In line with Covid-19 prevention, It is compulsory for all passengers to put on a face mask. Social distancing must also be observed while in the metro. Violation of this may result in a big fine. 
  • Sleeping in the waiting areas of the metro is highly prohibited 

It is very important to note all the above-prohibited acts to avoid unnecessary charges that you can use on better things. 

Additional Information you might need as a visitor

As a visitor, you might wonder if the metro system will be in your favor as to if the route cuts across places you might have planned to visit in the city. This will assist you further to plan your movement perfectly to have that fun-filled experience you’ve always dreamt of. Below are a few helpful information as to metro stations that have provision for parking cars, metro stations that are closer to the Airport as well as shopping malls that are located along the metro lines. 

Parking lots available at the metro stations

If you own a car or have rented one for your visitation period, and still feel a need to board a train at the metro station due to one reason or another, you don’t need to bother about endangering your car by parking in an unknown place. it is made easy for you as parking lots have been made available for in some metro platforms. With that, the security of your car is assured. Though, only three stations currently have provision for parking spaces (2 on the Red Line and 1 on the Green Line). These stations alongside their capacities are; 

  • Al Rashidiya (2700 available spaces)
  • UAE Exchange (3000 available spaces)
  • Etisalat (2300 available spaces)

Meanwhile, the UAE exchange parking lot is currently under lock, and the re-opening date is yet to be announced.

Dubai Metro stations close to the Airport

There two major stations that are located close to Airport terminals. They are – Dubai International Terminal 1 and Dubai International Terminal 3. Both are attached to the Airport Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 respectively and are both located on the Red Line

There is a metro station in the green line called Dubai Airport Freezone station. It does not go to the Airport, it goes to Airport Freezone which is totally a different thing. I have seen many passengers doing this mistake. So please don’t do that.

Shopping malls situated along the metro lines

The popular malls that are found along the Dubai metro lines are;

  • Deira City Center
  • The Dubai Mall
  • Mall of the Emirates
  • Ibn Batutta
  • Burjuman
  • Al Ghurair (Union)

The first four are directly located on the Red Line, while the last two are situated at the meeting point of both lines.

New extensions 2020

In addition to the two lines, a new route was launched this year 2020 (represented by the violet lines). This is a 15km route extending from Jabal Ali (previously Nakheel Harbor and Tower) to Expo 2020 site. This new extension cuts across seven stations which are:

  • Jabel Ali station
  • The Gardens station
  • Discovery gardens
  • Al Furjan station
  • Jumairah Golf station
  • Dubai Investment Park station
  • Expo station.

The new extension was open to the public in September. With new extensions going on, hopefully, in the next few years, the metro system will be available all-round the city. For the areas that the lines have not reached yet, passengers will have to take a second means of transportation to get to their final destination. But with the improvements going consistently, soon passengers would not need to opt for other means of transport after checking off the train.