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Public Transportation in Abu Dhabi

Mastering the public transportation system in Abu Dhabi is a crucial aspect of adapting to life there. This article provides a detailed overview of the available local transit options.
|-Public Transportation in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, offers a variety of public transportation options for both residents and visitors. The city’s public transportation system is managed by the Department of Transport (DoT) and includes buses, taxis, and a ferry service. The city is also planning to introduce a metro and tram system in the near future. With these options, it is possible for an expat living in Abu Dhabi to comfortably live without a car, relying on the public transportation system and walking. However, the need for a car can depend on individual lifestyle and work requirements.


The bus system in Abu Dhabi is extensive, reliable, and affordable. The city’s bus network is operated by the DoT and covers most areas of the city and the suburbs. The buses are modern, air-conditioned, and equipped with facilities for people with disabilities. The bus service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, making it a convenient option for commuters. The fare for a single trip within the city is AED 2 (approximately $0.5), making it a cost-effective mode of transportation. However, the bus system can be crowded during peak hours and the frequency of buses can vary depending on the route and time of day.


Taxis are a popular mode of transportation in Abu Dhabi. They are readily available throughout the city and can be hailed on the street, booked by phone, or through a mobile app. The taxis are metered and the fare starts at AED 5 during the day and AED 5.50 at night. Taxis in Abu Dhabi are considered safe and reliable. They are regulated by the government and the drivers are required to follow strict guidelines. However, the cost of taking a taxi can add up, especially for longer distances or frequent use.

Ferry Service

The ferry service in Abu Dhabi is operated by the DoT and provides a scenic and relaxing way to travel between the city and the nearby islands. The ferry service operates from several locations in the city and the fare varies depending on the distance. The ferries are modern and comfortable, offering stunning views of the city’s skyline. However, the ferry service operates on a schedule and may not be the most convenient option for daily commuting.

Future Public Transportation

The DoT has plans to introduce a metro and tram system in Abu Dhabi to further enhance the city’s public transportation network. The metro system is expected to cover a distance of 131 kilometers, while the tram system will cover 340 kilometers. These new modes of transportation are expected to provide a fast, efficient, and environmentally friendly way to travel around the city. However, these projects are still in the planning stages and it may be several years before they become operational.

In conclusion, while Abu Dhabi’s public transportation system is reliable and covers most areas of the city, the need for a car can depend on individual circumstances. For example, if you live and work in the city center, you may find that the public transportation options are sufficient for your needs. However, if you live in the suburbs or need to travel frequently for work, a car may be more convenient.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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