Public Buses in Dubai

Dubai has a fleet of new, clean and impressive public buses.  But since we have a pick and drop service provided by work (an enormous blessing, alhumdulillah), I never use these buses on a regular basis.  It had been a different story for Masood though.  Seven years ago when he first landed in Dubai in search for a job, he had used these buses frequently.

When we got married, one of my first requests from Masood was to take me around the city in a public bus.   He reluctantly agreed because he thought the buses here wasted so much time.  And he was right.    Aside from the fact that one gets stuck in traffic most of the time, a bus stop would appear every 15 minutes or so.

If one has the luxury of time, Dubai’s public buses are a cheaper and comfortable option to travel within the city.

Women get the first few seats, while men get the rest.   A passenger is not allowed in the bus if drunk.  Passengers who have fresh seafood with them aren’t allowed either.  During one of those rare occasions when I was traveling by bus, the driver refused a passenger because she was carrying a bag of fish.

Playing loud music isn’t allowed either.  Some of our desi brothers like to play music on their cellphones.  It shouldn’t be an issue, really, except that they like playing it loud enough for everyone to hear.  When that happens, the driver asks that passenger to turn the music off, and if the passenger still continues with the loud music, the driver parks the bus and asks that passenger to alight.

E-cards have recently been introduced, which means one can’t pay cash to use the bus or metro.  The one we bought cost AED 20 (and can be used in both bus and metro).  I think the minimum bus fare is AED 4.50.

Oh, and another thing that I haven’t seen in buses here are people begging, making announcements or distributing leaflets, etc.  This happens a lot in Philippines buses and it is very annoying.  Random people jump into the bus and shove empty envelopes onto your lap asking for donation.  If you pretend to sleep, they’ll wake you up.

Anyway, coming back to Dubai, I noticed this interesting bus stop …


  1. Here in Sg, they implemented the bus lanes on the roads. So even though there’s a bus stop every 15 mins, the buses are able to breeze through their lanes without getting stuck in traffic congestions on the other lanes.

    That’s a good idea actually, except that we have a lot of crazy drivers here who think it’s their birth right to drive in whichever lane they please, which would include the lane dedicated to buses. I think it will take sometime before we get that kind of discipline here.

  2. Speaking of buses- I went on the metro for the first time today, from Mall of the Emirates to the Dubai Mall stop. I had the red Nol card. After getting off the metro, I realized Dubai mall was quite a walk away, but then instantly saw the feeder buses. I tried to get on, but turns out you can’t use the same Nol card, you need another one. I couldn’t be bothered going back up to get one so I just walked. It wasn’t too bad a walk, not too far, and the weather was great, but they kept stressing that we can use the cards for all public transport, buses included, I was surprised when it didn’t work. Ah well, guess it was just the card I had. The buses do look quite nice, though, haven’t had the opportunity to try them yet- I will soon inshaAllah! 🙂

    Actually, a Nol Card can be used on all modes of travel. However with Nol “Red” Ticket you cannot change modes of travel using the same ticket. So it can only be used for either Bus or Metro, not both. Lucky you the weather is perfect for walking, else it’s quite a distance between the two malls when the temperatures are high. But you should give the bus a try someday 🙂

    PS: Get the 20 dirhams “silver” nol card next time. You can use it in both bus and metro plus you can load small amounts at a time, depending on when you need to use it.

  3. I wonder if you have had a chance to take the city’s trip in a public bus here in Karachi? :-). I bet you’d write a lengthier post about the public buses of Khi…

    Oh, I most certainly had! I compare it to a roller coaster ride. Oh the thrill! 🙂

  4. Dubai speaks in luxury; even the bus stops here are Air-Conditioned 🙂

    Yes, but I appreciate that move when I see laborers taking a brief but cool break from the scorching summer sun.

  5. I like how you can’t take fish on the bus, I find that cute 😀

    And it becomes necessary, considering that all the buses are air-conditioned.

  6. Oh, i love these rules, seriously awesome mann. Esp the drunken one. That’s a right problem here and pple dont say much afraid they might get knocked out or something.

    Unfortunately, alcohol is allowed here too, hence the need to impose such rules. I particularly like the rule where playing loud music is not allowed; it’s so annoying (imagine blaring music in some regional language).

  7. lovely buses! And air conditioned bus stop?!! *sigh*

    about that fish rule, how do they know what’s in your bag? 😀

    I suppose the drivers are trained to be suspicious 😀 Based from my experience, the driver asked a lady while she was still stepping up inside the bus whether the bag she was holding contained fish. She said yes, hence was told that it wasn’t allowed.

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