Whilst Abu Dhabi has a huge array of exciting and beautiful places to visit, no trip to the UAE is complete without a day or two in glitzy and glamorous Dubai.
One of the most frequently asked questions from visitors to the UAE is how can I get from Abu Dhabi to Dubai on Public Transport?
Here’s our guide on how to travel between the UAE’s two biggest cities – using public transport as well as some private options.
What public transport options are there in the UAE?
Whilst Dubai has an excellent public transport system, there are currently no rail or metro links between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, although this is set to change with the rapid development of Etihad Rail.
You can take a taxi (details outlined below) or private hire car, or use the much cheaper public bus service.
How to catch the bus from Abu Dhabi to Dubai
There are three Intercity bus routes between Abu Dhabi and Dubai:
- Route 100 – Leaves Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station (in the Al Wahda area of the city) every 10 to 20 minutes. This service terminates at Al Ghubaiba Bus Station (Dubai Metro Green Line ) in Bur Dubai. The journey takes approximately 135 minutes.
- Route 101 – Leaves Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station (Al Wahda) every 15 to 20 minutes. This service terminates at Ibn Battuta Mall (Ibn Battuta Metro Station Red Line) and takes around 90 minutes.
- Route 102 – Leaves Mussafah Shabiya Bus Station every 40 minutes and terminates at Ibn Battuta Mall (Ibn Battuta Metro Station Red Line). The journey takes approximately 105 minutes.
Bus services were suspended during COVID and took quite some time to return; however, as of June 2022, all the above bus services are back in operation. Use the RTA app or call 800 90 90 for the most up-to-date information
What does the bus from Abu Dhabi to Dubai cost?
All bus fares are 25 AED one way. Customers can use a NOL card or pay cash at the bus station before embarking on the bus.
NB You cannot buy or top up the Dubai public transport card NOL from Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station.
What should I expect on board the Abu Dhabi to Dubai Bus?
These public buses are pretty luxurious in the scheme of things. They are all airconditioned, have information screens and priority seating for women, children and the disabled, as well as priority boarding lines.
Stops are made en route along the E11 Highway at Shahama Village and Samha.
Note that wearing face masks is still mandatory on all forms of public transport in the UAE. Failure to wear a face mask may result in a fine of 3000 AED.
Bus from Dubai to Abu Dhabi
All of the above routes also run in reverse from Dubai back to Abu Dhabi.
What does the bus from Dubai to Abu Dhabi cost?
All bus fares are 25 AED one way. Customers can use a NOL card or pay cash at the bus terminal. Nol cards can be purchased at bus and metro stations, from RTA customer service centres or online.
There is no pre-booking; you turn up on the day and pay as you board.
Alternative ways to get between Abu Dhabi and Dubai
If you don’t fancy the long bus journey or it doesn’t fit your timings, then you can also consider these options to get between Abu Dhabi and Dubai:
Free airline buses
Etihad and Emirates offer services to get their customers between the major cities and their home airports. Inconveniently, neither runs and airport to airport service, but they do take you from the airport to a fairly central spot in the neighbouring city.
You can see our complete guide here on how the FREE airline buses work, including the codes to use when booking your flights and the pickup points.
A very new service, Abu Dhabi International Airport has introduced this new shuttle service to assist passengers not flying with Etihad in making their onward connection to Dubai.
The AUH Express shuttle will pick passengers up from outside AUH airport and drop them at Ibn Batutta Bus Station in Dubai, from where they can connect with the Metro system in Dubai or catch a local taxi or bus.
The AUH Express Service costs 35AED one way and runs overnight.
Passengers travelling on WizzAir can use the service complimentary by showing their ticket/boarding pass.
Abu Dhabi to Dubai by Taxi or RideShare App
Travelling by public taxi is surprisingly more cost-effective than you might think compared to a booked car service. You can expect a public taxi from Abu Dhabi to Dubai to cost you around 350 AED.
To book a taxi in Abu Dhabi, you should call the Centre for Integrated Transport on 600 53 53 53, download the Abu Dhabi Taxi App, or simply flag down a taxi on the street.
In our experience, Uber and Careem (ride-sharing services) cost more from Abu Dhabi to Dubai than a standard taxi, but it is always worth checking out pricing on these apps to see if you can get a better deal or don’t want to chance the meter running too high you’ll know your price is locked in.
You should note, though, that there is absolutely no problem using a metered taxi in the UAE; taxies are heavily regulated, and correct use of the meter is a must.
Airport transfer service from Abu Dhabi AUH and Dubai DXB airports
Pre-booked transfer services are handy if you land in one city but need to be in the other. They work well when you are travelling in a group and can split costs and provide you with security and door-to-door service.
Some suggestions to try:
- Welcome pick-ups are a highly recommend transfer service for all group sizes
- Use GetTransfer to have private drivers bid on providing your journey to lock in the most competitive price
Note there is NO DIRECT public transport option between the UAE’s two major airports, making transfer services all the more appealing but the most expensive of all your Abu Dhabi to Dubai transport options.
Hire a Car and Drive Abu Dhabi to Dubai
It’s easy to hire a car in Abu Dhabi, either directly from the airport or at depots around the city. What is slightly more challenging is the driving!
- We would recommend comparing car hire costs using discovercars.com
You really need to be a confident driver in Abu Dhabi; it’s not quite as daunting in Abu Dhabi as it is driving in Dubai, but you need to be prepared for high speeds on the freeways and some inpatient driving techniques.
Note if you are driving one way between the two cities, expect to pay a one-way drop-off fee.
Frequently asked questions on the Bus Service from Abu Dhabi to Dubai
The only thing that you can consume on public buses in the UAE is water. This rule also applies to public taxis.
Compared to most other places in the world, taxis are relatively cheap.
Passengers are not currently being asked to show their green passes when embarking on buses in the UAE. The removal of the border checkpoint between Dubai and Abu Dhabi means that you are no longer required to show a green pass or provide a negative PCR test result when entering the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
The need for a green pass on the Al Hosn app has been removed across the UAE from 7 November 2022.
Before you go… Important things to consider planning a trip to Abu Dhabi
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Abu Dhabi, a handy guide on what to pack as well as top tips for first-timers on the dos and don’ts, laws, and customs in the UAE.
- Check the most up-to-date COVID entry rules for Abu Dhabi.
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!
- Discover the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
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