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Dubai public transportation: Your student survival guide

Welcome to your comprehensive guide on Dubai Public Transportation! Whether you are a student new to the city or planning to study here, we will show you how to make travelling through Dubai simple and easy.

This article will provide a comprehensive guide to Dubai's public transportation system. Dubai combines tradition with innovation and offers plenty of opportunities for students from all over the world. If you are planning to study in Dubai or are already here, one of the first things you will need to master is Dubai's public transportation system. Luckily, Dubai's travel network makes it easy to explore the city and get to your classes on time. In this guide, we will take you through everything you need to know about travel through Dubai using public transportation, including the Metro, buses, and taxis. You will feel confident and excited about moving around this vibrant city by the end.

Dubai public transportation: A student's best friend (and your wallet's too)

Dubai's public transportation system is a dream come true for students, especially when you are trying to balance your studies with a social life and keeping your finances in check. It is reliable, efficient, and surprisingly affordable, making it the perfect way to take student transportation in Dubai. Whether you are heading to the sparkling souks of Deira, the iconic Burj Khalifa, or studying in a quiet café, Dubai's public transportation network has you covered.

Dubai Metro: The heart of the system

The Dubai Metro is the heart of the city's transportation system, connecting major landmarks, universities, and residential areas. It is fast, air-conditioned, and incredibly convenient. Imagine it as your personal express lane to all the exciting things the city offers with this student transportation in Dubai, without the hassle of traffic or the scorching desert sun. Two main lines—the Red Line and the Green Line, connect key areas, ensuring you can travel cost-effectively and affordably.

Why choose the Dubai Metro?


The Dubai Metro operates on a punctual schedule, making it a dependable option for students with tight timetables.


Air-conditioned and clean, the Dubai Metro provides a comfortable environment, especially during the hot summer months.


With student discounts available, the Dubai Metro is a budget-friendly choice for getting around the city.

Key stops and connections

Dubai International Airport:

Start your journey right from the airport with convenient Metro access.

Deira City Centre:

Perfect for shopping or catching a movie after classes.

Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall:

Visit the world’s tallest building and one of the largest malls globally with ease.

Dubai Marina:

A hotspot for dining, leisure, and scenic walks along the waterfront.

Dubai Buses: Your city explorer (and budget saviour)

Dubai's bus network is extensive, reaching almost every corner of the city. It is a great option for longer distances or areas not served by the metro. Think of it as your trusted companion for exploring Dubai's hidden gems and local neighbourhoods without breaking the bank.

Benefits of bus travel

  • Routes and frequency: Buses operate on various routes that connect residential areas, shopping malls, and tourist attractions. The frequency of buses varies depending on the route and time of day, but you will usually be able to catch a bus within a reasonable time frame. (Remember to check the schedule, especially if you are running late for class.)
  • Fares and the NOL card: Bus fares are economical, and students can avail of special rates. Fares are calculated based on the distance travelled and can be paid using the NOL card. You can also purchase single-trip tickets from the bus driver. (But the NOL card is definitely the way to go.)
  • Accessibility:Dubai buses are designed to be accessible to everyone, with ramps, designated seating, and audio announcements. So, whether you use a wheelchair or have limited mobility, you can easily navigate the city's bus network. (Dubai is all about inclusivity, and this student transportation in Dubai is an excellent example of that.)

Essential bus routes for students

Route 8:

Connects the Dubai Marina to the Gold Souk, perfect for shopping enthusiasts.

Route 93:

Links Dubai Media City to the Mall of the Emirates, ideal for students studying in Media City.

Route 29:

Travels from Dubai Mall to the Palm Jumeirah, allowing you to explore the iconic man-made island.

Dubai Taxis: Your on-demand adventure (when you need a little luxury)

While the Metro and buses are excellent for most journeys, there are times when a taxi is the most convenient option for your student transportation in Dubai. Taxis are a convenient and immediately available option for short-distance travel or when you need to reach a specific location quickly. Dubai’s taxis are recognised for their reliability, safety, and availability. They are like your personal chauffeur, ready to take you wherever you need to go, whenever you need to go. (Just be prepared to pay a little extra for the convenience.)

  • Types of taxis: Dubai has a variety of taxis, including standard taxis, limousine taxis, and women-only taxis. You can hail a taxi on the street or use a taxi app like Careem or Uber. (Uber is a bit cheaper, but Careem is a local app that is worth checking out.)
  • Fares: Taxi fares are evaluated based on the distance travelled and the time taken. You can pay by cash or with a credit card. (Make sure you have enough cash on hand, especially if you are using a standard taxi.)
  • Safety: Dubai taxis are safe and consistent. All taxis are licensed and regulated by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), so you can rest assured that you are safe. (But it is always a clever idea to be aware of your surroundings, just like you would in any city.)

Why take a taxi?

Door-to-door service:

Perfect for late-night returns or when carrying heavy books and supplies.


Taxis are readily available across the city, including remote areas.

Comfort and safety:

Enjoy a comfortable ride with professional drivers and well-maintained vehicles.

Want to join GBS Dubai?

Navigating with NOL card in Dubai

The NOL Card is your key to accessing Dubai’s public transportation system. It is a smart card that you can top up and use across the Metro, buses, and even taxis.

Types of NOL Cards

Red ticket:

Ideal for short-term visitors or infrequent travellers.

Silver card:

A great option for regular use, offering flexibility and ease of topping up.

Gold card:

Allows access to the Gold Class cabins on the Metro, featuring more spacious seating.

Blue card:

Personalised with added benefits such as auto top-up and transaction history tracking.

How to use the NOL card

  • Purchase and top-up: Available at Metro stations, bus stations, and online.
  • Tap in and out: Simply tap your card on the reader at the start and end of your journey.
  • Balance checking: Easily check your balance at any station or online to ensure you always have enough credit.

Enrol in GBS Dubai to get your degree in Dubai

GBS Dubai is a leading higher education institution in Dubai, offering a wide range of professional courses. With its commitment to academic excellence and student success, GBS Dubai provides a supportive and enriching learning environment.

  • World-Class Education: GBS Dubai offers a diverse range of programmes taught by experienced and qualified teaching professionals. (You will be in good hands, learning from the best.)
  • Modern Facilities: The institution features state-of-the-art facilities, including libraries, labs and classrooms. (You will have everything you need to succeed.)
  • Global Perspective: GBS Dubai encourages an international perspective, with students from diverse backgrounds and nationalities. (You will meet people from all over the world and learn from their experiences.)
  • Career Support: The institution provides career guidance and support to help students find their dream jobs. (They'll help you launch your career after graduation.)

Are you all set for the Dubai adventure?

Dubai's public transportation system is a student's dream come true, offering a seamless and affordable way to navigate the city. With its modern infrastructure, extensive commute network and convenient payment options, getting around is a breeze for student transportation in Dubai.

Frequently asked questions about Dubai public transportation

The Dubai Metro is a great option for students, offering a fast, efficient, and affordable way to travel. Buses are also a desirable choice for long-distance trips or areas not served by the Metro. (But if you are really in a hurry, a taxi is always an option.)

Fares vary depending on the mode of transportation and the distance travelled. The NOL card is a convenient and cost-effective way to pay for all your public transportation needs. (And it is cheaper than Uber.)

Some public transportation providers offer student discounts. Check with the RTA or your university for details. (You never know; you might be able to save a few dirhams.)

Dubai's public transportation system is safe and reliable. However, it is always important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to ensure your safety. (Use common sense, and you will be fine.)

You can purchase an NOL card at any metro station or authorised retailer and top it up at these locations. (It is super easy to get one, and you will be glad you did.)

Browse our courses

GBS Dubai offers a wide range of industry-focused education courses, designed to fit around your busy schedule.