Dubai Metro - Guide for Tourists

Page update - Sep 19, 2023

The Dubai Metro is very popular and often used by tourists. It provides quick and cheap access to major attractions, shopping malls or popular public beaches of Dubai. How much is the fare? How to pay? What are the operating hours? Read the answers and see the map with top-attractions shown.

The metro map, prices, timetables and other information on this page updated in September 2023.

Changes in 2023

On 12 January, the RTA announced the renaming of "Al Safa" station to "Onpassive", commissioned by US IT company Onpassive.

Changes in 2022

On April 18, 2022, Umm Al Sheif station on the red (first) line was renamed. It is now called Equiti. The renaming has been paid for by the brokerage Equiti. There have been changes in 2020-2023, and lots of them. See the full list of renames later on this page.

Starting January 3, 2022, the operating hours have changed. The changes are due to the change in the working week in the UAE. The current opening hours are below on this page.

The metro map below on this page takes into account all the renaming in 2020-2022 and even the latest renaming in 2023. Unfortunately, almost all of the Dubai Metro maps on the internet are now old. Be warned! Only use the updated map!

Dubai Metro VS Taxi cab

If you compare the subway to a cab, the subway is often faster, as Dubai is constantly experiencing traffic jams. The subway has a big advantage in price. We will tell you about the fares on this page below. Read about cab fares on our page "Taxi Prices in the UAE".

However, there are many difficulties waiting for tourists in the Dubai Metro - difficult tariffs, confusion with the names of the stations, problems with ticket choice, and special Ladies and Gold cars. Let's talk about all this in detail.

Dubai Metro map

The whole city of Dubai is divided into 7 transport zones, but the metro stations are located in only 4 of these zones - 1, 2, 5, 6. The division into zones is used to calculate the cost of the ride.

There are now three lines in the Dubai Metro - red (first), green (second) and Route 2020. The red and green lines cross at Union and BurJuman stations. The Route 2020 line runs from Jebel Ali station (at red line) to Expocenter.

We have shown on the map the two airports and the 28 main attractions of the city of Dubai. They are shown near the nearest metro stations by blue circles with numbers. See their names according to numbers in the bottom table.

Below is the map of Dubai Metro lines and stations. CLICK to enlarge to full screen. Smartphone and tablet owners are advised to flip devices horizontally.

If some object looks too small then zoom in with two fingers on smartphones and tablets or with the mouse wheel with the Ctrl (Control) key on desktop computers.

Station renames

Station names may be different on old maps. A total of 20 stations have been renamed during the existence of the Dubai Metro. The list of the changes is very long. To see the entire list, click on the button below.

But it's not enough to know the names and locations of the stations. Each subway has its own features, which it's important to talk about in detail.

Operating hours and intervals

The Dubai Metro timetable has changed since January 3, 2022, because the UAE passed to new 4½-days working week. Read detailed information in our review "Friday and weekend in Dubai and UAE".

- Monday through Thursday - from 5-00 to 1-15;

- On Fridays and Saturdays - from 5-00 to 2-15;

- On Sundays - from 8-00 to 1-15.

Important! The closing time is according to the arrival of the last train to the last station. That is, at 01-15 or 2-15 the terminal stations are closed, and non terminal stations are closed even earlier when the last trains depart from them.

Intervals of trains usually do not exceed 3.5 minutes. Sometimes delays happen when you have to wait 5 minutes or more.

Find your flight

You have to choose the right car!

In the Dubai Metro, not all cars (or halfs of the cars) are the same. There are three types: ordinary (Silver), Gold and female.

Anyone can ride in the regular (Silver) carriage at the standard fare.

In the women's car (or the women's half of the car) only women and children under 12 years of age may ride. A man in such a car can be fined, we will talk about fines in detail later on this page. The fare is standard, the level of comfort is not different from the common (Silver) car. Each train has one women's car (or half a car).

The women's car is easily recognized by the signs with the silhouettes of a woman and child above the entrances and pink warning signs (in the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge to full screen). If you do get in such a car by mistake, you will immediately understand it by the disapproving looks of the women around.

The Gold car is only for those who have paid the "Gold" fare, these are "first class" cars. There the large leather seats, armrests, the distance between the seats is longer - more room for the legs. These cars are more free, even in rush hours there's no crowding. Anyone can buy a Gold fare, you just have to pay a double price tag. We'll talk about the fares below.

Most often, the first car in trains is special. That is, the front half of the first car is the Gold-class, and the back half of the first car is the female part. The rest of the cars of a train are of the usual (Silver) class. By the way, there is no driver in the Dubai Metro trains, so the Gold-class offers an almost panoramic (actually 270 degrees) view of the city. We recommend you ride at least once.

Internet access via WiFi is available in all cars and is free.

Tickets types

The Dubai Metro uses contactless cards called "NOL Card" or "NOL ticket" for payment. You can pay with NOL not only for the metro but also for buses, tram, water buses, ferries and parking in Dubai.

Using the NOL ticket in the Dubai Metro is simple. When entering and exiting, you need to lean it to the turnstile. When exiting, the display will show the card's account balance (in the case of Gold and Silver cards).

However! NOL cards have a few important operating features that tourists need to be aware of. If you're planning to visit to Dubai and use the public transport, then you NEED to read our detailed review "The NOL Card".

NOL cards can be purchased at the ticket counters at any metro station and 7 bus stations in Dubai: Al Gubaiba Bus Station, Jebel Ali Bus Station, Gold Souq Bus Station, Sabkha Bus Station, Airport terminal 1, Airport terminal 2, Airport terminal 3. The ticket offices accept only AEDs, so change money in advance, please read our article "Currency Exchange in the UAE".

There are four types of tickets: NOL Red, NOL Silver, NOL Gold and NOL Blue. Let's talk about all four types in detail.


The tariffs at the Dubai Metro are complicated. We will try to explain them as simply as possible and skip some of the them that are not available to tourists.

- T1 - single trip within one zone;

- T2 - single trip to neighbor zone;

- T3 - single trip beyond neighbor zone;

- 1day - unlimited use of the metro and any other public transport for one day;

- 7daysT1 - unlimited travel within one zone for 7 days;

- 7daysT2 - unlimited travel to neighbor zone for 7 days;

- 7daysT3 - unlimited trips beyond neighbor zone for 7 days;

- All of these tariffs are available as Gold - travel in a Gold car, always double the price.

There are 30-day, 90-day and 365-day passes, but they are only available with the NOL Blue card, which can only be issued to UAE residents.

Find your hotel

NOL Red ticket

Best for tourists. You buy this ticket for 2 dirhams and pay for the trip (or multiple trips) at once. You can pay for the trip at the T1, T2 or T3 rate. See our article "Money in the UAE" for the current Dirham exchange rate.

Features of NOL Red:

- After the first use, don't throw the ticket away, you can record up to 9 more rides on it;

- Don't try to use a NOL Red ticket for more than one person, it won't work. Everyone needs their own ticket, otherwise the system will not let them through the turnstile;

- The ticket is valid for 90 days;

- Only in NOL Red is the 1day pass available - unlimited use of the subway for a day;

- 7day fares are not available in NOL Red;

- It is possible to record a Gold ride on a NOL Red ticket. For tourists it is very convenient, because you probably want to ride in a Gold car at least once, and there is no need to buy NOL Gold;

- You can buy the 1day pass as a Gold;

- You can buy NOL Red and top it up in vending machines at every subway station;

- When you use the ticket 10 times, it will become invalid, you can take it with you as a souvenir from the UAE.

Below is a table of NOL Red fares:

Tariff T1 T2 T3
Price, AED 4 6 8,5
Tariff T1 (Gold) T2 (Gold) T3 (Gold)
Price, AED 8 12 17
Tariff 1day 1day (Gold)
Price, AED 20 40

Red ticket is convenient if you want to go sightseeing a couple of times. If you plan to ride more often, for example to the beach or shopping malls, then it is more profitable and convenient to buy a NOL Silver card.

NOL Silver card

It is a card with an electronic wallet. You buy a NOL Silver card for 25 dirhams, and 19 of them appear in the electronic wallet.

The automatic system remembers the entry and exit station and deducts the required amount from the e-wallet (it selects the rate T1, T2 or T3).

Features of NOL Silver:

- The NOL Silver card can be purchased and recharged at ticket counters and vending machines;

- This card offers 7days (7 days) fares - unlimited travel for 7 days;

- 1 day pass is not available;

- 30days, 90days and 365days fares are not available;

- Gold fares are not available in any form;

- NOL Silver card is valid for 5 years. The account can be recharged up to AED 1000;

- You can check your balance at any station near the cashiers. Lean the card to a special red device;

- If you don't check-out (lean card to validator) at exit turnstile, then the trip will be considered at the maximum fare (7.5 dirhams);

- When exiting, the LCD display on the turnstile will show the card account balance.

Tariff T1 T2 T3
Price, AED 3 5 7,5
Tariff 7daysT1 7daysT2 7daysT3
Price, AED 50 80 110

Attentive readers have noticed lower fares when using the NOL Silver Card compared to Red. The Silver ticket itself costs 6 dirhams (against 2 dirhams for the Red), and already on the 5th trip Silver became profitable.

NOL Gold card

The features of operation and rules of use are no different from the NOL Silver. The only difference is the fare in Gold-class cars.

Features of the NOL Gold:

- Allows you to ride in a Gold car on the metro, tram and ferries;

- If you ride in a transport where there is no Gold class (e.g. buses), you will be charged at the standard (Silver) fare.

Tariff T1 (Gold) T2 (Gold) T3 (Gold)
Price, AED 6 10 15
Tariff 7daysT1 (Gold) 7daysT2 (Gold) 7daysT3 (Gold)
Price, AED 100 160 220

If you want a more comfortable trip, take the NOL Gold Card, but do not forget to take into account the high prices in the vacation budget. Read our page "How much money to take in the UAE".

NOL Blue card

Available to UAE residents only. The Blue Card with the photo of the holder is issued upon application on the RTA web-site. You have to specify your Emirates ID when registering. All passes of 30 days or more are only available with the NOL Blue. With this card you can get a discount (50%) for students, seniors and disabled people.

The NOL Blue card is personalized. That is, if you lose it, it can be recovered, and the money from the account will not be lost. Residents of the UAE can personalize their NOL Silver and NOL Gold cards. A loyalty program is available.

Find your transfer

What is forbidden and what are the fines

The most common unpleasant situation among tourists is when by mistake and inattention they board into the Gold car without a Gold ticket. The second common mistake is when men enter the women's car (or part of the car). The penalty in both cases is 100 dirhams.

Attention! There is an inspector in every train. Each year the inspectors issue hundreds of fines for traveling in the wrong car.

Most often in case of these two violations tourists are not fined, but are limited by a warning and transfer the passenger to the right carriage. We do not recommend to hope on it and try to pass in a Gold car for free. The measure of punishment will be determined by the inspector. He/she will give a penalty if in a bad mood.

Some tourists are trying to pay for travel with a Silver ticket, and take a Gold in the pocket to show the inspector. The Dubai Metro administration discovered such a "trick" back in 2012, and since ticket inspectors not only check tickets externally, but also read from the ticket the information about the paid trip. Don't do that, the penalty is 200 dirhams.

You are not allowed to sleep in the stations. The fine is 300 dirhams.

No eating, drinking, smoking or even chewing gum on the Dubai Metro. Penalty is 100 dirhams.

No alcohol can be carried even inside bags. Penalty: 500 dirhams (formerly was 100 dirhams). This rule is in force even after the liberal amendments of November 8, 2020.

Moreover, it is forbidden to drink alcohol and be drunk in the subway, as well as in any public place in the UAE, as we discussed in the review "Alcohol in the Arab Emirates".

Do not sit in seats for disabled and pregnant women. Even if there are no such people nearby, you cannot sit in these seats. The fine is 100 dirhams.

Be careful with the emergency buttons and equipment. Penalty of 2000 dirhams for using them unnecessarily.

You are not allowed to put your feet on the seats, spoil and dirty cars and stations, throw garbage, carry animals, make noise and disturb other passengers. For all this there are fines from 100 dirhams and more.

And now a good joke from the Dubai Metro administration: you can't disturb the driver! Recall that the Dubai Metro is fully automatic, there is no driver at all. Naturally, this clause of the rules implies bus drivers, but the rules do not specify that. Hopefully, by the time you read this article, they will have removed this point from the information booklets, or at least added the word "buses".

And, of course, all the general prohibitions and laws of the Arab Emirates apply in the subway. We have talked about them in detail in the review "What is not allowed in the Arab Emirates".

Interesting facts and figures

- The Dubai Metro is the only one in the Arab Emirates. It is possible that the metro will appear in Abu Dhabi, but for now the project is frozen;

- Every day, 500,000 people use the Dubai Metro. On April 24, 2023, RTA (Dubai Transport Authority) reported that 2 BILLION passengers have already used the metro (since it opened in 2009);

- It has been recorded that the punctuality of trains is 99,7%. If this is true, it is a world record;

- Total length: 89.6 kilometers (as of 2023). The Dubai Metro is the world's largest automatic public transportation system;

- The power supply voltage of the electric trains is 750 volts. Fortunately, it is impossible to fall on the rails and touch the contact rail, because the tracks are separated by a glass fence from the platform. Passengers pass inside the cars through a glass gate, which opens only after the train stops;

- The total cost of building the subway system in Dubai was supposed to be 15.5 billion dirhams ($4.2 billion). In fact, 28 billion dirhams ($7.8 billion);

- The construction work started on 05.05.2005 and ended on 09.09.2009. The red line was opened 09.09.2009, the green line 09.09.2011. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Ruler of Dubai) held the ceremony personally;

- The Dubai Metro is one of the most environmentally friendly in the world. Even the water for washing the trains is reused by 80%;

- There are about 4000 CCTV cameras installed in the Dubai Metro. "Big Brother is watching you!";

- The total length of the red line is 52.1 km, the green line is 22.5 km, Route 2020 is 15 km;

- The design of each of the stations is done on one of five themes: heritage, earth, air, water or fire. Take a closer look at the design and interior at the stations, you'll notice it;

- All the cars and stations are air-conditioned. The environment inside is perfect both in the 40-degree heat of summer and the cold evenings of winter. About the weather in Dubai, read our article "Weather and beach season in the UAE".

One more important point

It is allowed to ride in the Dubai Metro with large luggage from and to the airport. Read more in our article "How to get from Dubai Airport to the city".

Have a safe and fast trip around Dubai and read our helpful for tourists pages about the United Arab Emirates (see list of links below).


Tips for Tourists in the UAE


What to Take for the UAE

What You Should Not Do in the UAE

To the UAE with Kids

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