United Arab Emirates: Transportation
by Going Global
The UAE boasts an extensive, well-maintained, high-quality road network. Traffic drives on the right. Although driving regulations vary from emirate to emirate, a temporary driving permit from one emirate is accepted throughout the UAE. To hire a car in the UAE, bring a valid international driving license, a national driving license, two photographs and a passport. (An international driving license is required to obtain a temporary permit in Abu Dhabi.)
Most foreign driving licenses are accepted provided the holder is a citizen or resident of the country issuing the license. If not, an international driving license is required.
Traffic regulations are strictly enforced. There are speed cameras and the police have radar guns. The speed limit in urban areas is 60 to 80 kilometers per hour (KPH) and 100 to 120 KPH on the highway. Rental cars are equipped with an alarm that is set off when the speed limit is exceeded. Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal except in Dubai. Use of mobile phones while driving is prohibited. Drinking and driving is prohibited, and the laws are strictly enforced. Even a small amount of alcohol will put the driver over the legal limit. Seat belts are compulsory. Children under 12 are prohibited from travelling in front seats of vehicles. There is a good deal of traffic congestion in Dubai and Abu Dhabi between 7 and 9 a.m., 1 to 2 p.m., and 6 to 8 p.m.
The cost of operating an automobile will likely be one of the highest expenses for expatriates, according to ExpatArrivals. And even though public transportation is available and economical, many expatriates prefer to use automobiles. Although traffic is bad, and drivers can be aggressive, the UAE “is an easy place to drive.”
Bus travel is inexpensive, but it can be slow. Intra-city buses are found only in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Minibuses, seating 14, are also available. Dubai offers a public bus service from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Each emirate’s inter-city buses operate only within that emirate.
Taxis are readily available, efficient, and inexpensive. They are also the best way to get around in a city. Dubai’s metro is modern, efficient, and very inexpensive. Trains run approximately every eight minutes. The first car costs a little more and features a section for women and children. Stations are air-conditioned.