Transport in Dubai is controlled by the Roads and Transport authority. The public transport network faces huge congestion and reliability issues which a large investment programme is attempting to address, including over AED70 billion of improvements planned for completion by 2020, when the population of the city is projected to exceed 3.5 million. In 2009, according to Dubai Municipality statistics, there were an estimated 1,021,880 number of cars in Dubai. In January 2010, the number of Dubai residents who use public transport stood at 6%..

The launch of Dubai Metro has given a boost to the public transport in Dubai as the number of passengers reached an average of 842,000 per day in 2009. According to the statistics released by the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) more than 288 million passengers used public transport including the Metro, buses and the marine transport (abra and water buses) in 2009.

The RTA figures reveal that in 2009, public bus ridership hit 120 million persons with a daily ridership of 325,000 passengers. Marine transport system including traditional abras and the water bus carried around 17 million passengers. Since its launch on September 9 till the end of February 2010, some 11.29 million passengers have already used the Metro with average daily ridership of 80,000 commuters. Taxi cabs in Dubai make an average of 192,000 trips every day, lifting about 385,000 persons. In 2009 taxi trips exceeded 70 million trips serving around 140.45 million passengers.

The government has invested heavily in the Dubai’s road infrastructure, although this has not kept pace with the increase in the number of vehicles. This, coupled with the induced traffic phenomenon, has led to growing problems of congestion. There are two major commercial ports in Dubai, Port Rashid and Port Jebel Ali. Port Jebel Ali is the 7th busiest port in the world. Jebel Ali is the world’s largest man-made harbour and the biggest port in the Middle East.


Dubai International Airport (IATA: DXB), the hub for Emirates Airline, services the city of Dubai and other emirates in the country. The airport served a total of over 37 million passengers and handled over 1.8 million tons of cargo in 2008. In 2008, Dubai International Airport was the 20th busiest airport in the world and, with over 35 million international passengers, the 6th busiest international airport in the world, in terms of international passenger traffic. In addition to being an important passenger traffic hub, the airport is one of the busiest cargo airports in the world, handling 1.824 million tonnes of cargo in 2008, making it the 11th busiest airport in the world, a 9.4% increase of cargo traffic since 2007. Emirates Airline is the national airline of Dubai, and operates internationally to 101 destinations in 61 countries across six continents.

The development of Al Maktoum International Airport, currently under construction in Jebel Ali, was announced in 2004. The first phase is expected to be completed by 2010, and once operational the new airport will host foreign airlines and emirates with an exclusive terminal for them.

Bus service

The Public Bus Transport system in Dubai is run by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). The bus system services 140 routes and transported over about 109.5 million people in 2008. By the end of 2010, there will be 2,100 buses in service across the city. The Transport authority has announced the construction of 500 air-conditioned (A/C) Passenger Bus Shelters, and has plan for 1,000 more across the emirates in a move to encourage the use of public buses.

Dubai Metro

A $3.89 billion Dubai Metro project is under construction for the emirate. The Metro system was partially operational by September 2009 and will be fully operational by 2012. UK-based international service company Serco is responsible for operating the metro.

The metro will comprise four lines: the Green Line from Al Rashidiya to the main city center and the Red Line from the airport to Jebel Ali. It also has a blue and a purple line. The Dubai Metro (Green and Blue Lines) will have 70 kilometers of track and 43 stations, 37 above ground and ten underground. The Dubai Metro is the first urban train network in the Arabian Peninsula. All trains and stations are air conditioned with platform edge doors to make this possible.

Palm Jumeirah monorail

A monorail on the Palm Jumeirah opened in 2009. It is the first monorail to be built in the region.


Two trams systems are expected to be built in Dubai by 2011. The first is the Downtown Burj Khalifa Tram System and the second is the Al Sufouh Tram. The Downtown Burj Khalifa Tram System is a 4.6 km tram service that is planned to service the area around the Burj Khalifa, and the second tram will run 14.5 kilometres along Al Sufouh Road from Dubai Marina to the Burj Al Arab and the Mall of the Emirates.

Ferries and taxis

One of the more traditional methods of getting across Bur Dubai to Deira is through abras, small boats that ferry passengers across the Dubai Creek, between abra stations in Bastakiya and Baniyas Road. The Marine Transport Agency, is in the process of implementing the Dubai Water Bus System. This mode of transportation, however, is largely obsolete.

Dubai also has an extensive taxi system, by far the most frequently used means of public transport within the Emirate. There are both government-operated and private cab companies. There are around 7,500 taxis operating within the emirate

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