Driving a Car in Dubai
Driving in Dubai is more of a necessity rather than choice. Public transport is still being developed to ensure connection to all parts of the city, and most houses are situated at some distance from shops, schools and the office. Drivers use the right-hand side and overtake on the left-hand side of the vehicle ahead of you. The use of seat belts is compulsory.
There are speed limit restrictions, which should be strictly adhered to at all times in view of increasing police pressure and speed cameras, heavy fines and penalties. Speed limits are clearly indicated on road signs and vary across the Emirate, with limits ranging from 100-120 km/h on major highways and 40-60 km/h in urban and residential areas. Parking fines and speeding tickets are sent immediately by SMS to the registered owner of the car.
There are extensive and high quality roads. However, continual modifications to improve the flow and widen roads, build bridges, including diversions related to the Dubai Water Canal project, mean there can be traffic congestion at times.
There is a zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol in the UAE. Any driver who violates this requirement shall be subject to criminal sanctions – imprisonment and/or a minimum fine of twenty thousand Dhs (AED 20,000), and 24 black points on the driver's record, a suspension of your driving license for up to two years, and the risk of invalidating your insurance.
Never drink and drive!
For more information about buying a car, car insurance, the toll system, and what to do in case of a road accident or damage to your car, please see our Dubai Inside Guide.
Defensive Driving Course
A full-day defensive driving course is compulsory for all newly arrived Shell staff. The course is also offered on a voluntary basis to spouses. Spouses can book the course through the Outpost Iraq Dubai office.
Dubai’s public transport is operated by the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) and consists of the Dubai taxi, buses, water buses and abras (water taxis), metro, tram and monorail. All information regarding time table, routes and prices are available at www.rta.ae.
The public transport system in Dubai is dependent largely on taxis. The taxi system in Dubai is one of the most popular means of public transport, and available in all public places in Dubai. It is one of the fastest ways to get around the city, particularly to places that are not well-connected by the Metro. Dubai taxis can even be hailed on the street, or can be found outside major malls or hotels. There are several taxi stands across the city.
Generally, taxis are cheap and easy to hail. Most taxis in Dubai are metered and controlled by the Municipality. Meters start at AED 5 (during a day) and AED 5.50 (during a night). If you’ve booked in advance, the meter starts at AED 8 during non-peak hour times, AED 12 during peak hours, and AED 9 from 11 pm – 6 am.
All standard taxis are sand coloured with a different colour roof depending on the taxi company they belong to. The RTA recently launched the Hala Taxi service, a fleet of black and white cars for pre-booking only.
Careem and Uber
Careem and Uber are two private taxi services in Dubai that have been used and recommended by members of Shell community. Both Careem and Uber offer apps for iOS and Android, which allows you to quickly summon a car to your current location. They are often more expensive than traditional taxi services.
It is best to avoid getting into any other form of private unmarked taxis, as these can be expensive and may be illegal.
There are several types of marine transportation services in Dubai. Abras are a traditional means of water transport in the United Arab Emirates, and are considered to be one of the oldest modes of transportation. Abra operation times are from 5am until 12 midnight across the Dubai Creek. The Dubai ferry is a highly advanced and modern water transit service that provides luxury, comfort and further destinations to its passengers.
There is a municipality bus service in Dubai. The introduction of air-conditioned bus shelters and addition of 600 vehicles to the network has improved this service immensely. You will need to purchase a smart card (Nol Card), which can hold prepaid funds to pay for fares on buses, metros and trains. You swipe in and out when entering and leaving the bus. Don’t forget to swipe out, as otherwise, credit on your card will be automatically removed as a penalty.
There are two metro lines in Dubai - the green and the red line - with the latter following Sheikh Zayed Road and the Green line bordering the Creek. Metro timings are Saturday to Thursday 6am-midnight, Fridays 10am until 1am. During peak hours they will run every 3 minutes 45 seconds and every 10 minutes during off-peak hours. Trains are driverless, each carrying up to 887 passengers and travelling at an average 110 km/h. All Metro stations feature taxi pickup spots, bike racks, handicap/wheelchair access, bus stops and shuttle services. Most stations also have ATMs and convenience stores.
The Dubai metro trains feature five cars: Gold (VIP) class (1car), women and children (1car - this varies during peak hours), and silver or regular class (3 cars). Each train cabin also has designated areas for disabled passengers/wheelchairs.
The Dubai Tram is a rail vehicle that runs on tracks along public streets, and sometimes on separate rights of way. Dubai tram provides a modern and integrated public transit system to efficiently serve densely populated areas and new developments, like Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence, as well as the business areas along Al Sufouh Street.
Rechargeable smart cards called the Nol Cardcan be purchases and topped up from ticket offices, vending machines or authorised sales agents. These cards can be used for all public transport in Dubai i.e. buses, water taxi (abra) and metro trains provided there are sufficient funds pre-loaded on the card. There are four different types of cards depending on the need. For more information check www.nol.ae.