Dubai: If one thing good came out of all the travel restrictions due to the global pandemic, it was that nature got a breather. From ducks strolling on the streets of Paris to penguins waddling through Cape Town, we saw some beautiful sights. Want to continue that good work? Keep your carbon footprint to a minimum.
We’ve got you covered on that front. This is how you can plan the greenest trip to Expo 2020 Dubai – a world expo aiming to become the most sustainable exposition in history.
Using public transport to get to Expo
A sure-fire way of reducing carbon emissions is to make use of Dubai's public transport options.
In Dubai, you can collect Green Points just by using the metro, bus or tram.
They can also earn Green Points when they perform a digital transaction with the RTA: paying by nol Card or through the RTA website and app.
You can sign in to your RTA account on the Dubai Drive app to view your score, which is calculated by distance and mode of transport. Work toward increasing the CO2 emissions you save in kilograms to keep track of the difference you make.
Get your nol Card
Before you embark on your public transport journey, you will need a nol Card – a smart card that is used to pay for travel on Dubai Metro, buses and tram. These are available in any metro station in Dubai
You can take your pick from four nol Card types:
- Silver Card – Dh25 (regular)
- Gold Card – Dh25 (premium access to gold class cabin on metro and tram)
- Personal Card – Dh50 (personalised with added security)
- Red Ticket – Dh2 (one-trip paper card, your least green option)
Taking the Dubai Metro
Besides earning green points, you can cut down on cost and time considerably by using the UAE’s swiftest mode of transport.
The Dubai Metro railway system stretches across four zones with two network lines called the Green and Red Lines.
With a silver nol Card, for instance, your one-way cost of travelling within:
- One zone is Dh3;
- Across two zones is Dh5; and
- More than two zones is Dh7.5.
How do I take the metro train to Expo?
You can board the train from any one of the 40-plus metro stations in Dubai. Stay on the Red Line to get to the Expo site.
The Red Line leads to an extension dedicated to the event site known as Route 2020, which takes you directly to the Expo 2020 Dubai Station. As of now, this line is still in the works and will be fully operational during the event run.
Taking the bus
Dubai RTA’s buses are fitted with low-emission engines that prevent you from hiking up your carbon footprint. You can hop on a public bus from any of the 14 stations and bus stops spread throughout Dubai.
Another fleet of intercity buses can take you to other emirates like Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Al Ain, and even Hatta, Dubai’s exclave.
Due to COVID-19 regulations, however, intercity buses are currently only operating between Dubai, Sharjah, Hatta and Ajman – these are routes E303, E306, E307, E307A, E400, E411 and E16.
The same zone fares as metro apply when travelling by bus within Dubai.
The RTA bus fares between other emirates are listed as follows:
- Dubai to Sharjah – Dh10
- Sharjah to Dubai – Dh12
- Dubai to Ajman – Dh12
- Ajman to Dubai – Dh15
- Dubai to and from Hatta – Dh10
How do I take the bus to Expo?
Download S’hail, the RTA’s journey planner app, or visit the authority's Wojhati website, wojhati.rta.ae, to help you locate all the bus stops nearby and which bus to board.
There is a special bus fleet of 580 Expo Rider buses that will take visitors to and from the Expo site, with stops based in Dubai and other emirates. The locations of these bus stops will be released closer to the main event.
Taking the Dubai Tram
RTA’s eco-friendly electric trams operate a short route within Zone 2 of Dubai. What makes them even more convenient is that the tram lines are very close to the Expo site.
If you live in or arrive at areas such as Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, and Jumeirah Lakes Towers, then board an electric tram with your nol Card at one of the 11 stops.
Your one-way trip on the tram will only cost you Dh3 with a silver nol Card.
How do I take the tram to Expo?
There are two tram stations that connect to the Dubai Metro's Red Line:
- Jumeirah Lakes Towers Tram Station ↔ DMCC Metro Station
- Dubai Marina Tram Station ↔ Damac Properties Metro Station
Taking the tram to one of these metro links can help you resume your green trip.
You will have to board the metro from either the DMCC or Damac Properties station, then transfer to line headed to Jebal Ali at the next interchange and ride it till the Expo 2020 Dubai Metro Station.
Your feeder travel options
The distance between metro, bus, and tram stations can be covered by renting either an electric bike or an electric scooter, often found in the vicinity.
1. Careem Bike
If biking there appeals to you, then you have the option to rent an e-bike to get to the nearest metro, bus or tram link.
Careem’s fleet of green-coloured bikes are powered by an electric motor, so you don’t have to tire yourself out with all the pedalling. All bike rentals are carried out through the Careem Bike mobile app.
All bike rentals are carried out through the Careem Bike mobile app.
To get started, you can subscribe to any one of the following membership plans:
- One-year plan – Dh420
- One-month plan – Dh75
- One-week plan – Dh50
- One-day plan – Dh20
These efficient bikes have a duration cap of 45 minutes each, after which you will be charged an extra Dh10 for every 30 minutes.
How can I ride a Careem bike to the closest station?
There are three major clusters of bike stations situated in or around Al Karama, Downtown Dubai and Dubai Marina. You can pin down the closest bike to you by using the Careem Bike app.
On the app, you will find a map of geotag-shaped pointers that are either filled or halfway full to indicate the number of bikes available.
Some of the bike stations fall along the Dubai Metro Red Line. These metro stations are:
- Damac Metro Station
- DMCC Metro Station
- Dubai Internet City Metro Station
- BurJuman Metro Station
- ADCB Metro Station
Other bike stations can be found at some tram stations. These tram stations are:
- Dubai Marina Tram Station
- Palm Jumeirah Tram Station
- Dubai Media City Tram Station
Another bike station is located at the Karama Bus Station.
Pro-tip: The key is to bike to the nearest metro station that has a bike station. After docking your ride, you can take the metro to the Expo site.
Booking a Careem Bike
To begin your bike booking, registeration on Careem is required for all your future rentals.
Step 1: Create a Careem account
- Download the Careem Bike app from Apple Store or Google Play Store.
- Select the person icon on the bottom right.
- Enter your mobile number.
- Verify the number by entering the OTP code sent to your phone.
- Then, enter your full name and password to finish your Careem sign up.
Step 2: Book your Careem Bike
- On the app, tap on the search tab on top.
- Click on either ‘Find nearest available bike’ or ‘Find nearest available dock’.
- After confirming availability, select ‘Unlock bike’.
- You will be prompted to purchase a membership plan. Tap ‘Buy a plan’.
- Take your pick, and select the number of bikes you need to unlock.
- Link your credit or debit card, then tap ‘Pay’.
When you approach the station, pick any docked bike and unlock either by:
- Scanning the QR code on the bike; or
- Entering the five-digit code on the dock keypad from the app.
- Wear a helmet and a reflective vest.
- Walk your bike on pedestrian crossings.
Note: You must be 15 years or older to avail this service.
2. Electric scooter
Not much of a cyclist? How about trying a scooter instead?
The RTA oversees a fleet of electric scooters that it sources from five different rental companies: Careem Scooter, Tier, Arnab, Lime and Skurtt.
All of the scooter rentals charge the same fares:
- Dh3 to unlock the scooter
- Dh1 per minute of your rental duration
How can I ride an e-scooter to the closest station?
The following Red Line metro stations are where you can find parked e-scooters:
- Al Jafiliya Metro Station
- Al Rigga Metro Station
- Union Metro Station (Interchange station)
- Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Metro Station
- Dubai Internet City Metro Station
- DMCC Metro Station
- Damac Metro Station
The following tram stations have e-scooters:
- Al Sufouh Tram Station
- Knowledge Village Tram Station
- Palm Jumeirah Tram Station
- Dubai Media City Tram Station
As for bus stations, you will find e-scooters near the Al Jafiliya and Union Square Bus Stations.
Booking an e-scooter
All five rental apps have the same booking process.
- Download the app of the e-scooter you find parked – Careem Scooter, Tier, Arnab, Lime, or Skurtt.
- View the map of scooter icons, and tap on them to check their battery levels.
- Select your preferred ride by tapping ‘confirm’ or ‘reserve’.
- Enter your credit or debit card details to pay and register.
Check the parking areas on the map before you get off, and let the app know you have ended your journey by tapping ‘End Ride’.
- Do not drive on roads.
- Wear a helmet.
- Walk your scooter on pedestrian crossings.
- Park responsibly – use the map on the app to check available spots.
- Always ride solo on one scooter.
- Must be 14 years or older to avail this service.
Using electric taxis and car rentals to get to Expo
You may want to skip public transportation all together because your preference lies with comfortable, quiet electric cars. Here are some Tesla options to help you along.
Dubai Taxi (DTC Energy)
Believe it or not, there is a Tesla public taxi available at your beck and call. All you have to do is book a DTC Energy ride with Dubai Taxi Corporation on their app or through their toll free.
Booking with DTC means you can only hail your electric taxi in Dubai. However, this cab can take you across the seven emirates for drop off, if needed.
What are my Tesla options with DTC?
Dubai Taxi’s DTC Energy fleet has Tesla models S and X. While Tesla S is the default option on the app, you can book a Tesla X through the phone.
Due to COVID-19 social distancing measures, only two passengers at a time are allowed in Tesla taxis.
How much will a ride in a DTC Energy taxi cost me?
Both Tesla models run on the same meter charge. The following are the standard rates for the electric taxi:
- Meter fare starts at Dh7.5
- Fare charged on every kilometre is Dh3.5
- For a pickup from one of the Dubai International Airport terminals or from Al Maktoum International Airport, the meter fare will start at Dh25 and charge Dh3.25 on every kilometre travelled.
- You can even get Dh20 off on your first ride with DTC. Simply sign up on the app to browse various budget-friendly ride packs.
Booking a Tesla taxi with DTC
If you wish to book on the app, you will have to sign up first.
Step 1: Sign up on DTC.
- Download the DTC app from Apple Store or Google Play.
- Enter your mobile number to start the process, then type in the OTP sent to you via SMS text.
- Fill in your full name and email address.
- Confirm your account verification sent to your email.
Step 2: Book your ride.
- Under ‘Choose a Service’, tap ‘DTC Energy’ to choose your electric taxi.
- Enter your pick up and drop off locations, then confirm.
- Once the rates load, tap ‘Cash’ on the bottom-left to browse other payment methods.
- To schedule the ride for a later time, pick your day and time on the bottom-left.
- Wrap up the process by tapping ‘Book Now’.
If you prefer to book on the phone, the DTC hotline is 80088088.
Uber (Uber Green)
Sustainable green trips can also be booked through Uber’s Green fleet. This premium electric ride only accepts passengers within Dubai but can drop them off to other emirates.
What are my Tesla options with Uber Green?
Uber Green has Tesla models S, X, and 3 up for the eco-friendly traveller.
Due to COVID-19 social distancing measures, only two passengers at a time are allowed in the car.
How much will Uber Green cost me?
Any Tesla model under Uber will cost you the same. Your base fare will fluctuate depending on peak hours and your distance from the Expo site.
- Dynamic base fare starts at Dh5.60 and can reach Dh11.66
- Minimum fare is Dh16.50
Booking a Tesla with Uber Green
You can easily book an Uber Green on the app, which requires you to register first.
Step 1: Sign up on Uber
- Download the app from Apple Store or Google Play Store.
- Enter your mobile number, name, and email address.
- Verify your number by entering a 4-digit authentication code.
Step 2: Book your Uber Green
- Tap ‘Where to?’ on the bottom to enter your pick up and drop off points.
- Swipe the tab up to choose your ride ‘Uber Green’.
- Tap ‘Uber Cash’ under your selection, then select ‘Add Payment Method’ to pay by card. You can pay digitally via PayPal, Google Pay, or a valid credit or debit card.
- Select ‘Confirm Green’ to finalise booking.
Ekar’s electric fleet of Tesla cars is up for rental in Abu Dhabi only.
You can begin your journey from the free parking lot in Masdar City, located near the Tesla Supercharger charging station. The same location applies when you have to end your service and return the car.
Renting a Tesla also comes with free charging privileges at the charging station in Masdar City.
What are my Tesla options with ekar?
Tesla Model S: A speedy five-seater – ideal for small groups.
Tesla Model X: A spacious seven-seater with ample storage space – ideal for families or large groups.
Depending on your rental period, you will be charged according to the following plans for both models.
How much will a ride in a Tesla S or X cost me?
On ekar, you can choose from any three payment plans, all of which have the same rates for both models of Tesla.
- Pay-per-minute: 65 fils
- Daily: Dh936
- Weekly: Dh6552
Pay for your trips digitally with a valid debit or credit card, and make sure your card has sufficient balance to avoid a penalty fee of Dh30.
If you are on a visit visa, you will have to pay a security deposit of Dh2,000. This amount will be refunded to you when you cancel your service or transfer to a residence visa.
Booking a Tesla ride with ekar
Before you can zoom your way to the Expo, you need to register with ekar on the app so that they can verify your identity and driving licence.
Note that you have to be at least 21 years old and above to register, and 25 years old to book a Tesla on a weekly basis.
Step 1: Sign up on ekar
1. Download the ekar app from Google Play Store or Apple Store.
2. Tap on the menu symbol in the top-left corner, and select ‘Registration’.
3. Enter your email and password, then type in the OTP code sent to your email.
4. Enter your mobile number, and type in the OTP sent to you via SMS text.
5. Type in your personal details: full name, date of birth and nationality.
6. Select your employer if applicable for exclusive access: Masdar, Etihad Airways, or Emirates Airlines. If none of these apply, choose ‘General Public’.
7. Enter your driving licence details: licence number, country and city of issue, and issue and expiry dates.
8. Upload the required documents:
- Selfie with your Emirates or national ID
- Front and back of your driving licence (foreign or international licence for visitors)
- Front and back of your Emirates or national ID
- Passport (visa and stamp of entry for visitors)
9. Link a valid debit or credit card to pay for your future rentals on the go.
Note: There is a signup fee of Dh1.
Pro-tip: Register the day before your trip because the verification process will take a few hours.
Now that you are a registered user on ekar, you can move on to finding the right ride for your rental.
Step 2: Book your ride
- Select ‘Carshare’ from the main screen options. You will be redirected to a map with blue pointers that show you which ekar rides are nearby.
- Tap on the search symbol on the bottom-right corner, and type in ‘Tesla’.
- Take your pick from the available options, Tesla S or X.
- Swipe to select your payment plan, and hit ‘Instant Booking’.
- You can also tap on ‘Directions’, which shows you how far your ride is from you.
Once you have made your booking, you have 30 minutes to reach the Tesla.
Can I drive to Expo 2020 Dubai from Abu Dhabi in a Tesla rented from ekar?
Yes, as long as the Tesla is picked up from and returned to the Masdar City parking lot near the Tesla Supercharger charging station.
Can I park anywhere for free with a Tesla from ekar?
No. You have to cover all public parking and electric car charging fees incurred during your rental.
- The writer is an intern with Gulf News.