Public Transportation in Abu Dhabi: A Guide for International Students

Going Around Madrid Public Transportation System Guide e1644907900509

While not as famous as other study destinations, the UAE doesn’t lag in various facets. For starters, it guarantees one of the best students lives you’ll ever experience. Not to mention, it has glamorous metropolises such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

If you choose to study in Abu Dhabi, you’re in for a great ride. This emirate is a melting pot of diverse cultures from around the world. But to enjoy casual and backpacking trips, you must learn about public transportation.

Public transportation in Abu Dhabi can rival the best systems in the world. Read through this guide so you can navigate your way into mass conveyances in Abu Dhabi:


Public buses in Abu Dhabi will envelop you in a more humble form of luxury. These buses are available 24/7, with air-conditioning units to provide more comfort. To pay for your bus fare, you must use the Hafilat Smart Card.

The Hafilat smart card can bring many great perks for frequent passengers. Not only does it bring payment convenience, but it also allows users to get travel passes. 

In total, you can get around six different types of Hafilat smart cards. These cards fall into two major classifications: temporary and permanent. For only AED 5, you can use a temporary card for 14 days upon your purchase. 

Permanent Hafilat cards cost AED 10 and are valid for five years. Note that both cards have certain features such as add-ons for long travels. 


Taxis are another common form of transportation in Abu Dhabi. There are two types of taxis in this emirate. The first is a regular one, and the second is special rides for women, children, and the disabled.

Regular taxis are in silver, operating under official taxi services with running meters. Women drive pink taxis, which only allow the disabled, women, and children under age 10.

Alternatively, you can also book a ride through ride-hailing apps through Uber. Don’t fret about the language barrier because most drivers speak English.

Abu Dhabi is a safe emirate, but it pays to be cautious especially when you are alone. Make sure that the meter is running well and that you’re safe throughout the ride.


You may not have to board ferries on the regular, but you may have to someday. You’ll use ferry services if you travel from the city to Delma Island. As of writing, Abu Dhabi has two passenger ferries running.

Passengers aged under 12 can ride the ferry for free. Anyone of age 12 and above must pay AED 20. 

If you’re planning to ride the ferry, don’t forget to check out the website of Abu Dhabi’s Department of Transport. You’ll find all the information you need there.¬†¬†

International students in Abu Dhabi must learn how to navigate its public transportation systems. Want to learn more about the UAE as a study destination? Read up on more of our blogs here at MSM Unify.


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