Dubai City Information Site

The Abu Dhabi Transportation System

Hi, Sunil here to quickly outline the various Abu Dhabi transportation options you have


Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) is the main airport in this Emirate, home to Ethihaad Airways.

Personal Vehicle

This is the primary method of transportation just like Dubai. Vehicles are priced similar to Dubai. Roads are clearer but will get more congested like Dubai as AD develops.

Taxi / Cabs

This is the second most popular Abu Dhabi transportation method.

When I was there in 2008, the fare started at 2 Dirhams plus 0.50 Dirhams per Kilometer.

You will typically see three types of cabs in Abu Dhabi.

You have cabs owned by transport companies which are typically more expensive (15 Dirhams to start).

You will also see silver cabs and these are the newer ones.

Then you have the old traditional white and yellow or gold cabs which are the older ones.

The ruler of Abu Dhabi announced the phasing out of the old cars to reflect a better image of the Emirate as well as provide better quality to passengers.

Now there are also what are called Limousine Standard Taxi services operating in Abu Dhabi. The cars are in fairly good condition and the drivers are usually good too. The two widely used are as follows:

  • Al Ghazal - Tel (+971) 2-444-7787
  • (National Transport Company) NTC - Tel (+971) 2-622-3300
And as you can imagine, these Limo Cars are available everywhere. If you can’t see one just go to the nearest major hotels. You can also call the number above and make a booking in advance.

You will pay slightly more to ride a limo cab than a regular taxi. But see a regular taxi driver is not as well trained as a limo cab driver. You want someone who knows the city and who speaks English so he can communicate with you. Many regular cabbies are also wild and reckless drivers.

ONE WORD OF CAUTION WITH TAXIS: Make sure you always talk to the driver before hoping in to ensure they speak English. Then if you are travelling between the Emirates it is important to ask if they are allowed to drive in each.

Each Emirate has a different license plate and there are some legalities that might prevent your cab driver to drive in another Emirate. So make sure you take your time talking and asking the important questions.

Alternatively you can ask your hotel to make sure they address these questions if you are booking through them (recommended).

Rental Cars

You can also rent a car in Abu Dhabi. This will give you the most freedom and flexibility to move out and about. If you decide to get a rental, make sure you get yourself a good Abu Dhabi City Map or you will be lost.

Public Buses

You can take the buses to nearby cities and even Dubai. More routes are being developed as the bus is the first mass transport system in Abu Dhabi. Four new routes were established in 2008 and were received very well by the growing population in the Emirate.

For this reason a plan was launched to have over 1,000 routes by 2010. The best part about the buses is that they are free. But because they are free, everyone crams in and it becomes a very tight and unpleasant environment.

I think you will see buses start to charge in the future. I say this because right now taxis are loosing business and will eventually begin to complain and lobby. The government would never want to loose taxis all together.

Light Rail System

In the works as of 2008

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