How Do I Get From Abu Dhabi to Dubai? Public Transport & Transfers Explained

by Abu Dhabi Travel Planner Team

Whilst Abu Dhabi has a vast array of exciting places to visit and beautiful beaches, no trip to the United Arab Emirates 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 transfer 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 in the near future with the rapid development of Etihad Rail).

You can take a taxi (details outlined below) or a private hire car, or use the much cheaper public bus service. Here’s how:

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 20 to 35 minutes. This service terminates at Al Ghubaiba Bus Station (connecting to Dubai Metro Green Line ) in Bur Dubai. The journey takes approximately 135 minutes.
  • Route 101 – Leaves Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station (Al Wahda) every 20 to 35 minutes. This service terminates at Ibn Battuta Bus Station/Mall (connecting to Ibn Battuta Metro Station Red Line), and the bus ride takes around 90 minutes.
  • Route 102 – Leaves Mussafah Shabiya Bus Station every 40-60 minutes and terminates at Ibn Battuta Mall Bus Station/Mall (connecting to Ibn Battuta Metro Station Red Line). The journey takes approximately 115 minutes.

Use the RTA app or call 800 90 90 for the most up-to-date information.

intercity buses at platform 2 of Abu Dhbai's central bus station

What Does the Bus From Abu Dhabi to Dubai Cost?

A bus ticket is 25 AED one way.  Customers can use a NOL card, a Hafialt Card or pay cash at the bus station before embarking on the bus.

NB You can 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.

The bus stops en route along the E11 Highway at Shahama Village and Samha, but otherwise, it is a fairly quick and direct service from the central station.

Note that wearing face masks is no longer compulsory on UAE transport.

Intercity buses parked at Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station
Modern fleet of coaches in Al Wadha – Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station

Dubai to Abu Dhabi Bus

All of the above routes also run in reverse from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.

What does the bus from Dubai to Abu Dhabi cost?

  • All bus fares are 25 AED one way.  Customers can use their Dubai NOL card or pay cash at the bus terminal in Dubai. 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.

The intercity bus is the cheapest way and easiest way to get between the two cities if you’re travelling on a budget, without compromising on comfort, but not the quickest.

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 Airways and Emirates both offer a complimentary bus service to get their customers between the major cities and their home airports. Inconveniently, neither runs an airport-to-airport service (this may change with a proposed new cooperation announced in 2023, though many months later, nothing seems to be actioned).

Both operate only as far as their ticket office in the opposing city; you’d need to then pay for an onward connection by bus/metro or taxi to your final destination.

The service is free only to those who hold the appropriate airline ticket (ie, to take the Emirates coach Abu Dhabi to DXB you must have an Emirates flight that day, or flying Etihad and landing in Abu Dhabi with your final destination Dubai, you take the Etihad coach to their office in Dubai).

Emirates bus parked in Abu  Dhabi takes passengers from Abu Dhabi corniche to Dubai International Airport
The Emirates coach service takes passengers from the Emirates ticket office on the Abu Dhabi Corniche to Dubai International Airport DXB

AUH Express – Abu Dhabi Airport to Dubai

A new service from Zayed International Airport (the new name for Abu Dhabi International Airport), this is a paid shuttle bus to assist passengers not flying with Etihad in their onward connection to Dubai.

The AUH Express shuttle (Abu Dhabi Airport Express), will pick passengers up from outside AUH airport Terminal A 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 AED 35 one way and now runs 24/7. You can pay for this at AUH airport, or pre-book your place on the shuttle before you travel.

On its launch, passengers travelling on WizzAir used to be able to use this service for free. However, we understand this grace period has ended, and you must now separately book your shuttle bus ticket with WizzTransfers – or simply use the booking link above to self-book (it’s cheaper than where WizzAir direct you!)

Although the AUH Express costs slightly more than the Intercity 101 Bus, it leaves from the airport directly, rather than the centre of Abu Dhabi city, making this a better choice for many passengers.

(NB, do look at the 102 intercity service, though, that is now routed past Terminal A – the Intercity service only costs AED 25 and takes only a few minutes longer to Dubai Ibn Battuta).

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 AED 350.

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 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; taxis are heavily regulated, and the correct use of the meter is necessary; you won’t get ripped off.

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 at a specific location in the other. They work well when travelling in a larger group; you can split costs, and they provide the security and speed of a door-to-door service.

Some suggestions to try:

  • Welcome pick-ups are a highly recommended 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 airport transfer services all the more appealing but also the most expensive of all your Abu Dhabi to Dubai transport options.

If you are travelling business class with Etihad, they still offer a luxury chauffeur service from AUH to Dubai.

New state-of-the art terminal A in abu dhbai - media supplied image
Zayed International Airport in Abu Dhabi – new Terminal A

Hire a Car and Drive from Abu Dhabi to Dubai

It’s easy to hire a car in Abu Dhabi and drive yourself, either directly from the airport or at depots around the city. What is slightly more challenging is the driving!

You 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 freeway speeds and some inpatient driving techniques.

Plug your destinations in Google Maps, and navigation is straightforward – just be prepared for vast multi-lane freeways, the lack of proper indicator use, and you’ll be just fine!

Note if you are taking a car rental one way between the two cities, expect to pay a one-way drop-off fee.

Taking a Day Tour Abu Dhabi to Dubai

If you are seeking to visit Dubai on a day trip from Abu Dhabi, rather than a transfer, you can use the same public transport methods we’ve mentioned above.

Alternatively, you may find joining a day tour to Dubai convenient. It’ll cost you a little more than taking the bus, but you will get to all the most important attractions, and many offer guided commentary. Here are some Dubai day trip from Abu Dhabi options to consider:

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Get from Abu Dhabi to Dubai

Can I eat and drink on public buses in the UAE?

The only thing that you can consume on public buses in the UAE is water. This rule also applies to public taxis.

Can I take my pet on the bus in the UAE?

No, pets are not allowed on the intercity bus.

Are taxis expensive in the UAE?

Compared to most other places in the world, taxis are relatively cheap.

Do I need to pre-book my seat for the Abu Dhabi to Dubai bus?

No, the intercity bus service works on a first-come basis and cannot be pre-booked.

How much does the Abu Dhabi bus to Dubai cost?

A one-way journey on the Abu Dhabi to Dubai intercity bus is AED 25. The airport bus, AUH Express costs AED 35.

Can I use my Abu Dhabi bus card to pay for the intercity bus?

Yes, Hafilat bus card can be used to tap and pay for intercity bus journeys to Dubai

How do I get the Abu Dhabi Dubai train?

A new rail service, Etihad Rail, is coming to the UAE, but it’s still not operational; there will not be an Abu Dhabi to Dubai train for some time yet. We’ll share with you further route information when it opens, but don’t expect it to take you from one city centre or airport to another, transfers will still be involved..

Is there an Abu Dhabi to Dubai Metro?

No, the Metro only extends as far as Dubai emirate. for any other emirate you must use ground transportation such as buses, taxis or private transfer vans.

What is There to Do in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

If this is your first time visiting the United Arab Emirates, you may well be wondering what is there to do in each city?

Each glamourous city sits on the Persian Gulf and has a string of luxury hotels and beautiful beaches but also exudes its own charm. Here are some of the most famous landmarks and the best places you’ll want on your UAE itinerary:

Best of Abu Dhabi

Best of Dubai

  • Scale the Burj Khalifa
  • Shop ’til you drop at Dubai Mall
  • Explore the historical side of the city of Dubai in Al Fahidi Historic Neighbourhood
  • Take a traditional Abra over Diubai Creek
  • Negotiate a bargain at the souks
  • Dune bash in the Desert
  • Imagine the future at the Museum of the Future
  • Learn about religion at Jumeirah Mosque
  • Splash into Aquaventue Water Park on Palm Jumeirah
  • Admire the highrises of Dubai Marina and Media City
  • Stroll Souk Madinat and see the Burj al Arab

Head over to our partner site for a complete list of Dubai activities

Before you go… Important things to consider when planning a trip to Abu Dhabi

Take me back to the Abu Dhabi Travel Blog

Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our hotel or tour recommendation links.

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