Public Transport in Abu Dhabi

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If you are new to Abu Dhabi, your daily commute can be challenging, especially if you do not own a private vehicle. However, there are numerous ways to easily get around the capital via public transport, from buses to abras (boat), e-scooters and bikes. Abu Dhabi public transport is managed by the Integrated Transport Center (ITC), which is responsible for ensuring its planning, integration and development. Currently, there are no trains or metro in the city, however, the capital plans to launch a high-speed rail network between the emirates. Next, we will take a closer look at the public transport system in Abu Dhabi, what it offers and how to make most of it.

Public Transportation in Abu Dhabi

As we have already mentioned, the public transport system in the UAE capital is governed by ITC, which is affiliated with the Department of Municipalities and Transport and is also supervised by it. ITC was established in 2016 according to a law passed by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Besides operating public transport, the governing body is also responsible for managing parking spaces, traffic monitoring centers, axle weight stations, logistic facilities of freight surface transport and the roads sector.

The most common ways to commute around Abu Dhabi are by buses, taxis and ferries. It is worth noting that there are strict social distancing measures in place and face masks must be worn while traveling on public transport in the Emirate.

Public Transportation Apps and Websites

In order to provide excellent customer support, ITC has several apps and websites with detailed information, which facilitate the use of public transport. First of all, is the official website of ITC, offering a range of services regarding toll data systems, parking, traffic and roads, supplier services and aviation services, along with customer care. The website regularly posts the latest news, where you can learn about the service schedule during public holidays, new initiatives, upcoming public transport events in Abu Dhabi and more.
As well as the above, there is, which is an interactive map, providing all the necessary information you may require about your itinerary by land, sea and air throughout the entire UAE. Its key features are as follows:

  1. Journey Planner, where you can find multiple travel options for a specific journey.
  2. Carpooling, which facilitates connecting to car owners in order to share car pick ups and drop offs:

  • Places of interest (banks, hospitals, restaurants, schools, etc.)
  • Calendar of Abu Dhabi Events.
  • Traffic updates.
  • Reporting of new incidents.
  • Bus departure monitor.
On this website, you can also check the spots for bike hire stations and EVC stations, routes and schedules of bus lines, bicycle routes and P&R locations, along with other essential information. For more convenient access, you can download the Darbi app via the App Store and Google Play, which both have the exact same features.

Speaking of apps, users can benefit from the Abu Dhabi Taxi application, which offers an efficient way of booking a taxi. You can track your taxi location, cancel your booking, find out taxi fare details and view the history of previously booked taxi trips. Moreover, it is possible to order a taxi from your current location, detected by GPS from any location on the interactive map.

For marine navigation services, the Rubban app comes in handy as it offers accurate and efficient interactive maps to provide users with key marina data and directions related to using maritime transport in Abu Dhabi. Users can also download interactive maps and use them offline.

Furthermore, the Abu Dhabi Link application is an on-demand public transit service. This is shared service, so be prepared that there may be other passengers as well as you on the same trip. Abu Dhabi Link uses the most up-to-date technology to provide the convenience and comfort of a private ride combined with the speed, efficiency and affordability of a public service. The service operates in Al Shahama, old Al Bahyah, Al Rahbah, Al Samha and part of Al Sader areas, along with Yas Island.


Abu Dhabi plans to have its own metro network with 12 stations by 2030. The light rail system, designed in a similar way to the Dubai Metro, will cover the entire Emirate, linking the mainland with communities such as Al Raha Beach, Yas Island and Saadiyat Island. Supported by tram and bus feeder services, the metro will be over 429,000 ft long and feature 4 lines. In addition, the metro will include CBTC equipment, which enables a driverless GoA4 operation. Meanwhile, the central depot will be designed for 42 trains in total. The upcoming Abu Dhabi Metro is a part of the Integrated Public Transport Network, which contains regional railways, rail transit and bus rapid transit, as well as local and regional bus services.


Bus services in Abu Dhabiwere launched back in 2008, catering to the needs of various communities within the capital. As of 2021, there are over 124 routes that operate throughout the Emirate with expansive services in Abu Dhabi and its suburbs, the Eastern Region (Al Ain) and the Western Region (Al Dhafra). In general, the public bus system is divided into 2 main networks: Region and City. Bus numbers prefixed with "A" only move to/from Abu Dhabi International Airport, while "M" stands for minibusses. Finally, bus numbers prefixed with "X" are express vehicles. The buses are designed to have separate sections for men and women, with a male area situated at the back of the bus, and women can sit right behind the driver.

Local bus routes cover shorter distances within the residential communities of Al Amerah, Shakhbout City, Rabdan, MBZ City, Al Amerah, Al Khaznah, Al Bahya and Al Shahama. There is also one route that is connected to the Abu Dhabi Industrial City (ICAD). Meanwhile, regional bus lines to Abu Dhabi include the districts of Al Reef, Saadiyat Island, Al Zahiyah, Al Danah, Al Rahba, Al Shahma, MBZ City, Al Shalila and ICAD. As well as the above, express bus routes cover most of the Emirate and have shorter stops to ensure a faster commute. These vehicles move between the suburbs of Rabdan and Al Zahiyah and link the city of Al Nahyan to Al Dhafra and Al Ain. Finally, there are bus routes which link the suburbs of Al Danah and Al Zahiyah with the Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Buses run on a specific schedule at all hours of the day and night, although the service may be more limited on Fridays and Saturdays. You can check the timetable on the above-mentioned Darbi website. All buses are fully air-conditioned and have proper access for passengers with disabilities.

Commuters can also track bus services through a real-time update platform on Google Maps as of September 2021, which facilitates the planning of your trip. Now the application shows bus routes across Abu Dhabi, in addition to bus stop locations and schedules. As we have mentioned earlier, Darbi has all this information, but by making it available on Google Maps as well, it is likely to encourage greater use of public buses. In fact, the ITC have launched many initiatives over the last 2 years in order to enhance bus services in the Emirate. Besides developing extra air-conditioned bus stops across Abu Dhabi, the city has launched free Wi-Fi on vehicles and the size of the fleet has increased.

The bus service in the UAE capital is rather affordable, as the trip is charged based on whether you are traveling from the city or from various suburbs, such as Musaffah or Madinat Zayed. It is worth noting that charges for intercity journeys are a little bit higher.

As of 2021, the costs are as follows:

  • Local trips: AED 2 (USD 0.54)
  • Regional trips: AED 2 (USD 0.54) + AED 0.05 (USD 0.014) per km
  • Intercity trips: AED 10 (USD 2.72) + AED 0.1 (USD 0.027) per km

Hafilat Card

If you are planning to use a public bus service on a regular basis, then you have to purchase a Hafilat card. The automated smart card system was launched in 2015, and automatically calculates the cost of the ride. In order to pay your fare, you only have to pass the card over a scanner when you hop on/off the bus. It is worth mentioning that you cannot use cash on buses in Abu Dhabi, so the Hafilat card is a must. There are 2 types of card available:

1. Anonymous:
  • Price: AED 10 (USD 2.72)
  • Validity: 5 years
  • Where to purchase: Ticket Vending Machines (TVM)
  • Card top-up: any TVM
2. Personalized:
  • Has your name and an ID number
  • Price: AED 5 (USD 1.36)
  • Validity: 5 years
  • Where to purchase: Customer Happiness Center
  • Card top-up: Any TVM
Both of these cards can be topped up to a maximum of AED 150 (USD 40.84). Besides the TVMs, it is possible to top up online on or via the Darbi platform in the section of Public Transport. Meanwhile, the full list of TVM locations can be easily found on the Darbi platform as well. All the machines accept coins and paper currency but do not accept credit cards.

To top up your Hafilat card, you have to choose any of the packages we have reviewed below. There are some packages that are only available for Personalized Cards, such as student, senior citizen and people of determination passes. You can purchase weekly or monthly passes at the TVMs and the Card Sales Office in large bus stations.

It is worth mentioning that seniors and people of determination have the right to ride free of charge on local bus routes, therefore only paying for the Personalized Card. These passenger categories can avail a 50% discount on inter-city bus rides. The following passes are available:

  1. Weekly Pass. This offers an unlimited number of intra-city bus rides for 30 days, from the date of purchase and costs AED 30 (USD 8.17).
  2. Monthly Pass. This pass includes an unlimited number of intra-city bus trips for 30 days at a price of AED 80 (USD 21.78).
  3. Senior Citizen Pass. This is an annual pass, allowing unlimited local and regional trips, as well as 50% off inter-city rides. A Senior Citizen Pass is provided to people 55 years old or above, for free, and can be obtained at any Customer Happiness Center. You will require a valid Emirates ID to receive it.
  4. People of Determination Pass. This type of pass is similar to a Senior Citizen Pass, the only difference is in the documents required to obtain it. Besides a valid Emirates ID, a customer has to show a medical report or the Aounak card, which is a service card for PoD.
  5. Student Pass. It has the same validity and gives the same benefits as a Senior Citizen Pass and PoD Pass, however, you will have to provide an additional letter from the institution where you are enrolled. The pass currently costs AED 500 (USD 136.12).

Long-Distance Coaches

Since the UAE is not a very large state in terms of total land area, the longest trip will take a maximum of 5 hours. Similar to regular buses, long-distance coaches are very comfortable and are equipped with air conditioning, Wi-Fi and reclining seats. Nevertheless, you have to be prepared for this trip to be double the length of a normal car journey.

You can head to Sharjah, Dubai, Al Ain, Liwa or Ruwais from the main bus station at al Wahda Mall on Hazza Bin Zayed Street. This service has introduced a new route to the emirate of Dubai, which starts at Musaffah and stops at Abu Dhabi International Airport as well.

It is possible to use the E101 intercity bus services between Dubai and Abu Dhabi for only AED 25 (USD 6.81). This operates between Ibn Battuta Mall and Abu Dhabi’s Central Station from 5.20am to 1am, with 1 bus leaving hourly. When you are traveling from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, you are not required to show any form of PCR test, however, it is a must when travelling from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.


In the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, taxis are regulated by the Center for Regulation of Transport by Hire Cars (TransAD). There is a wide fleet of taxis available, including airport taxis with more space for luggage, pink taxis with female drivers, designed exclusively for women and children below 10 years old, and designated taxis for families with 4-seater and 7-seater options. TransAD also runs a range of specially adapted, luxurious Mercedes-Benz Vito cars equipped with the latest technology, providing wheelchair users and other people of determination safer options. It is recommended to book the above-mentioned services in advance to ensure specific requirements are met. All taxis boast smart Wi-Fi and security cameras, which ensure driver and passenger safety, while also assisting in returning lost items. More than 85% of the capital’s taxis also run on natural gas or are hybrids to support sustainability.

Finding a taxi is very easy, since one can be hailed from almost any area, with shopping centers having specific taxi stands. Bookings can be made via 600 535 353 or the above-mentioned Abu Dhabi Taxi app. Street taxis are easily recognizable by their yellow and silver livery roof signs. Of course, there are Uber and Careem services available as well. While the majority of drivers speak fluent English, Arabic and Urdu, they are not quite familiar with the name of the streets in Abu Dhabi, therefore, it helps to know the exact destination that you are going to or make sure you have a landmark nearby that you can name. Finally, make sure you have change rather than pay with AED 100-200 notes, as most probably, drivers will not be able to give you change from such a large note.

All taxi companies serve the airport, as do specially registered airport taxis. A trip to the city from the airport is priced at about AED 70-80 (USD 19-22), including a minimum starting fee. There is also an option of using luxury taxis, which are available 24/7 from all 3 terminals. Mercedes-Benz Vito vans can be hired with a higher flag fall cost, however, the rate per km will be the same as regular taxis. These vehicles run on green diesel, a speed limiter and updated GPS.

Fares are determined by a meter system and can be paid by a card or cash. If you use Abu Dhabi Taxi, you can use the online payment system in the same-named app.

During the day, from 6am to 10pm, the fares are as follows:

  • Minimum fare – AED 12 (USD 3.27)
  • Starting fee – AED 5 (USD 1.36)
  • Airport taxi starting fee – AED 20 (USD 7.62)
  • Airport Vito taxi starting fee – AED 25 (USD 6.81)
  • Every 1 km up to 50 km – AED 1.82 (USD 0.5)
  • Every 1 minute of waiting time – AED 0.5 (USD 0.14)
  • Booking fees – AED 4 (USD 1.09)

Night time – 10pm to 6am, the fare costs are below:

  • Minimum fare – AED 12 (USD 3.27)
  • Starting fee – AED 5.5 (USD 1.5)
  • Airport taxi starting fee – AED 20 (USD 7.62)
  • Airport Vito taxi starting fee – AED 25 (USD 6.81)
  • Every 1 km up to 50 km – AED 1.82 (USD 0.5)
  • Every 1 minute of waiting time – AED 0.5 (USD 0.14)
  • Booking fees – AED 5 (USD 1.36)
Note: Elderly and people of determination have a 50% discount on taxi fares in Abu Dhabi.

Other Methods of Public Transportation

Besides taxis and buses, residents and tourists of Abu Dhabi are welcome to use bicycles, e-scooters, U-Drive and the Abra Water Hopping Service.

Abra Water Hopping Service

Abra shuttles, run by Captain Tony’s, are one of the most exciting ways to explore the UAE capital. A traditional wooden abra operates between the Khor Al Maqta Hotels, Eastern Mangroves and Yas Marina and you can use these services from Tuesday to Sunday (4pm-11pm). It costs AED 25 (USD 6.81) per person and children under 6 years are free of charge. Meanwhile, school teachers and university students can benefit from 50% and 40% discounts, respectively.

In total, Abra Water Hopping Service offers 3 routes:

  1. The Red Route, which operates within the Khor Al Maqta area and links the Souk Qaryat Al Beri/Shangri-La Hotel, Fairmont Hotel and Ritz Carlton Hotel.
  2. The Yellow Route, which begins at Souk Qaryat Al Beri Marina and heads to the Eastern Mangroves marina, riding under the bridge and past Maqta Fort, in direction to the mangrove national park.
  3. The Blue Route, which operates between the Khor al Maqta hotels/Souk Qaryat al Beri and Yas Marina.
Important! While pre-booking is not required on the Red Route, both Yellow and Blue Routes are currently only available on a Private Charter basis where pre-booking is essential. The hotline number is 050 1332060.


The bike-share scheme of Careem Bikes is the first of its kind in Abu Dhabi, and is very similar to the ‘Boris Bikes’ in London. The form of transport offers a cost-effective and green way to move around the city, where you can pick up a bike casually or become a member of the Careem Bike application. Currently, there are 300 bikes and over 5,500 users in Abu Dhabi.

The costs of hiring a bike are to be found below:

  • 1 day – AED 20 (USD 5.44)
  • 3 days – AED 50 (USD 15.61)
  • 1 month – AED 99 (USD 26.95)

There are 28 locations where you can pick up a bicycle:

  • Al Raha Beach: Al Bandar, Al Muneera North, Al Muneera South and Al Zeina.
  • Khalifa City: Khalifa City Gardens G13, Khalifa City Raha Gardens G18, Gardens Plaza and Golf Gardens.
  • Masdar City: Masdar Park, IRENA HQ and Siemens Building.
  • Saadiyat Island: Saadiyat Beach Residence, Saadiyat Beach Villas, Saadiyat Beach, Saadiyat Golf Club, Saadiyat Beach Club, St Regis Hotel, NYU-West, NYU-East, Louvre Museum and Louvre Boulevard.
  • Yas Island: Yas Beach, Yas Marina, Yas Plaza, Yas Viceroy, Yas Links, Yas Waterworld and Ferrari World.


Lime, the US-based urban mobility provider, launched its e-scooter network in Abu Dhabi in 2019 and aims to reduce the number of cars on the road. In order to use Lime, riders just have to download the Lime app, locate a scooter on the map and unlock it. When the ride is completed, riders should follow app instructions to finish the ride and park it efficiently. The rental cost for the e-scooters is AED 1 (USD 0.27) per minute, as well as an initial AED 3 (USD 0.82) to unlock a scooter.

As well as that, there are Fenix e-scooters available at the Corniche, Al Dana, Al Bateen, Al Reem Island and Al Maryah Island. Scooters come with hand sanitization packs attached to it, to ensure the safety of every rider. Felix e-scooters can be rented for the same price as Lime e-scooters and users can avail a week-long subscription for AED 100, and a month-long subscription priced at AED 200 (USD 54.45) Those who rent a scooter for over 24 months, can keep it for themselves. To benefit from the subscription packages, just download the Fenix application from Google Play or Apple Store.


Udrive is the first car-sharing provider in the Middle East, which provides car rentals by the minute. Available 24/7, the service offers a diverse and wide range of vehicles to meet the preferences of any customer. The company also covers fuel parking and insurance. Udrive does not charge any monthly fees or require any deposits. In order to start using it, just download the Udrive application, register for free and find & unlock a chosen vehicle with your smartphone.

Disability Access for Public Transportation

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is constantly enhancing its walkways, pedestrian underpasses, pavements, public parking spaces, entrances of buildings and other public facilities to meet the mobility needs of people of determination. As mentioned earlier, they are also eligible for free unlimited travel in the city of Abu Dhabi. Additionally, people of determination are provided with special permits to park in public parking areas, and they are exempt from any parking fees. And of course, buses are perfectly equipped to accommodate the needs of PoD.

Safety Tips for Public Transportation

It is always good to follow specific guidelines when riding Abu Dhabi’s public transport. These are as follows:

  1. Do not consume any food or beverages during your commute, as fellow passengers may get offended by the smell. In a taxi, the driver may disembark you if you are carrying food with a strong smell.
  2. In buses, there are designated sections for ladies, children and families. If you are a woman traveling alone, it is better to use them.
  3. Do not carry alcohol.
  4. It is recommended to obtain a receipt at the end of your trip, in case you leave your belongings in a taxi. This will assist in retrieving items fast, as the call center will be able to identify the vehicle and contact the driver at once.
  5. Always make sure you have sufficient balance on your transport card, so you will not have to pay an additional fee.
  6. Do not park in designated parking spaces for PoD, unless you have the right to do it. Otherwise, you can get a fine of AED 1,000 (USD 272).

Making a Complaint about Public Transportation

You can file complaints online or via a customer care helpline. The contacts of the IDC are to be found below:

  • Phone: 800850
  • Email:
  • Address: Al Khor Street 26, Al Rabdan

Depending on the nature of your complaint, it will take between 2-7 days to resolve the issue. The customer care representative will ask you several questions and will let you know when you can expect the result.

Useful Resources

For more information, please keep in mind the following web pages:


  1. The Darbi platform has both an app and a website, where you can use all services provided by ITC.
  2. E-scooters and the bike-sharing scheme are the most affordable and eco-friendly ways to move around Abu Dhabi.
  3. Abra Water Hopping Service is perfect for sightseeing but not for a day-to-day commute.
  4. Personalized cards can only be purchased at Customer Happiness Centers since you are required to show your ID.
  5. People of determination and seniors can benefit from subsidized rates on taxis and unlimited free bus rides in the capital.

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