Saturday, February 14, 2009

Getting Around in Dubai


The Dubai Municipality (04 2859401) operates a public bus service, running from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Three types of bus pass are available, offering travel up to a fixed cost, monthly travel on one side of the creek, or monthly travel throughout the city. Both the routes and the bus numbers are displayed in Arabic and English. Passes, timetables and bus maps are available from the main bus stations at Bur Dubai on Al Ghubaiba Rd and in Deira near the Gold Souq. Bus maps and timetables can be viewed on line on the Dubai Municipality website,
Intercity buses operate within Dubai and depart every hour for Hatta and twice a day for Muscat, Oman (5-6 hours). Inter-emirate travel is run by Dubai Transport minibuses, however you can only pick these up in Dubai. Telephone 04 2273840, for services to the Northern Emirates, or 04 3937014, for Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

The fast and simple way to cross the creek is by using an abra, or water taxi. You can board at the intersection of Al Sabkha and Bani Yas Roads on the Deira side of the creek. Bur Dubai dock is located at the end of the souq.

A project is underway to construct a fully automated metro system for Dubai (2 lines: green and red). It is expected to be partially operational in 2009 and fully operational by 2012. Trains will run every 90 seconds, over 70km of track. Several monorails are also planned to connect outlying areas to the main metro system.
Public Transport/Rail/Metro:

Dubai is served by Dubai International Airport (DXB), the hub of UAE's international airline, Emirates ( A capacity of 70 million passengers is planned for 2007 and the airport will be among those able to accommodate the new Airbus A380 super-airliner. Flights are available to the other emirates, as well as to a large number of international destinations. Flight time from London to Dubai is approximately 7 hours; Los Angeles to Dubai approximately 20 hours. There is no departure tax at any UAE airport.
Many of the world's major airlines operate scheduled services to Dubai, including British Airways, Air France, Cathay Pacific, Cyprus Airways, Kenya Airways, Lufthansa, Northwest Airlines and United Airlines. The airport has excellent facilities, including restaurants, lounges, left luggage and internet access points
Dubai airport is located 5km / 3 miles south east of Dubai city. Prepaid taxis can be booked in the arrivals hall. Airport buses depart for the city centre every ten minutes between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Further information is available on the Dubai International Airport website

Useful contacts - airlines:
Emirates Airlines (04 2144444) Airline Centre, Al Maktoum Rd., Deira
Gulf Air (04 2713111) Salah Al Din Rd., Rigga
British Airways (04 3075555) Airline Centre, Al Maktoum Rd., Deira
Air India (04 2276787) Al Maktoum Rd., Deira
Cathay Pacific (8004343) Pearl Building, 11th Floor, 18 St., Deira
KLM (04 3355777) Dubai airport.
Qatar Airways (04 922290) Doha Centre, Al Maktoum Rd., Deira.

Taxis are plentiful and relatively inexpensive. You can flag a taxi down on the street, or book by telephone. The official, cream coloured taxis are metered and therefore usually cheaper, but the majority of other taxis in Dubai do not have meters and you must expect to haggle for a good price before beginning your trip.

Taxi contacts:
Dubai Transport 04 2080808
Cars Taxi 04 2693344
Golden Taxi 04 3365444
Gulf Radio Taxi 04 2236666
National Taxi 04 3366611

There is a high quality road network throughout the United Arab Emirates and petrol prices are low in comparison to European prices. Driving is on the right. However, there is a high incidence of road traffic accidents and congestion is a serious problem during the rush hour. If you wish to hire a car in Dubai, you will need to present a valid international driving license, your national driving license, two photographs and your passport at the car hire company, enabling them to issue you with a temporary UAE driving license. Most foreign drivers licenses will be accepted, provided you are a resident of the country that issued the license. If this is not the case, you will need to obtain an international driving license.

Car Hire Contacts:
Avis Dubai International Airport (04 2245219, fax 2244150) 24-hour service; main office (04 2957121) Clock Tower Roundabout, Al Maktoum Rd., Deira.
Europcar (04 3394433) Inter-Continental, Hilton, Hyatt Regency and Al Bustan Rotana hotels
Hertz (04 2824422) Al Maktoum Rd.
Patriot -

You will be able to purchase a car in Dubai, provided that you have a residency visa. Many cars are resold after as little as six months of use, by owners keen to trade up to the very latest model. Second hand cars are therefore very good value for money and certainly worth considering, as the prices are often a good deal lower than the new price.

If you wish to drive your own car, you will need to apply for a UAE driving license. To obtain a driver's license in Dubai, you must have a residency visa issued in Dubai. The minimum age for obtaining a drivers license is 18 years. Nationals of the majority of European countries, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand will be able to obtain a UAE driving license in Dubai without taking a driving test if they are already a license-holder in their home country. To apply for a UAE driving license, you must complete a driver's license application form and present it with one passport size photograph, your original passport and one photocopy, your original driver's license and one photocopy, an eye test report, and a payment of AED 100. If your license was not issued in the GCC, you should also obtain a letter from your embassy or consulate confirming that the license is valid. If your license is issued in any language other than English or Arabic, a translation from your Embassy or Consulate is also required.

Driving under the influence of alcohol it not tolerated and the penalties are severe.
You may also like to consider a car-sharing arrangement. Due to the volume of traffic in Dubai, this is an increasing popular option. Many advertisements for car sharing partners are featured in the Gulf News each week.

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