The Complete Guide: How to Travel from Dubai to Al Ain by Bus

Traveling between Dubai and Al Ain by bus is an affordable and convenient option. The journey takes around 2 hours and there are regular bus services running throughout the day. This guide provides an overview of the route, bus options, ticket prices, timings, and tips for traveling smoothly between the two cities.

Overview of the Dubai to Al Ain bus route

The distance between Dubai and Al Ain is approximately 140 km. The main bus station in Dubai serving this route is Al Ghubaiba Bus Station. Located in the Bur Dubai area, it offers easy access via the metro and has amenities like restaurants, shops, and restrooms.

In April 2019, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) launched bus route E201 which provides direct express coach services between Dubai and Al Ain. This was the first inter-city route directly linking the two cities.

Alternatively, travelers can opt for the Al Ghazal minibuses which also make the journey from Al Ghubaiba Bus Station to Al Ain. These minibuses have more frequent departure timings.

Importance of knowing bus timings and ticket prices for travel planning

When planning your trip between Dubai and Al Ain by bus, it’s important to know the bus schedules, frequencies, journey duration, and ticket prices.

Buses on route E201 start operating early in the morning with services running late into the evening. There are also additional buses on the weekends and public holidays to cater to increased demand.

A one-way ticket on the E201 buses costs AED 25 per person. You can pay cash on board or use a Nol smart card for seamless travel across Dubai’s public transport network.

Knowing the bus timings in advance allows you to coordinate your travel plans. You can also budget your trip based on the ticket prices.

Bus Options from Dubai to Al Ain

There are two main bus services that operate between Dubai and Al Ain – the E201 express route and the Al Ghazal minibuses.

E201 is an inter-city coach service launched by RTA in April 2019. These buses have comfortable reclining seats, onboard entertainment, restrooms, and storage space. As an express service, the buses make limited stops along the highway.

The Al Ghazal minibuses have been serving the Dubai-Al Ain route for many years now. They have regular departure timings, nearly every 30-40 minutes. However, these minibuses don’t have as many amenities and make more stops along the way.

So travelers can choose either service based on their budget, convenience, comfort needs and time constraints.

Timings and frequency of buses from Dubai to Al Ain

The E201 express buses start operating from Al Ghubaiba station in Dubai from 4:40 AM onwards. The last bus departs at 11 PM so you have nearly 18 hours to take the bus.

These buses have a frequency of every 30-60 minutes depending on the time of day. During peak hours in the mornings and evenings, there are more bus departures to handle commuter demand.

The Al Ghazal minibuses on the other hand, have very frequent departure timings. A bus leaves every 30-40 minutes from early morning till late night every day. So travelers have flexibility in timings.

On Fridays, the bus schedules are extended to accommodate weekend passenger traffic. There are also additional late-night buses on this route.

Bus Stops and Timings in Al Ain

In Al Ain, the main bus station used by route E201 buses and Al Ghazal minibuses is Al Ain Central Bus Station. This station has parking facilities, restrooms, shops, and cafes – making it convenient for travelers.

Some of the other stops that these buses make along the way in Al Ain include:

  • Al Jimi Mall
  • Al Ain Mall
  • Al Ain Souq
  • Al Ain Rotana Hotel
  • Al Bawadi Mall
  • Al Foah Rest Area

So based on your final destination in Al Ain, you can choose the most suitable bus stop to disembark.

Timings of buses from Al Ain back to Dubai

For the return journey, buses to Dubai start from the Al Ain Central Bus Station from 5 AM onwards. The last bus typically departs at 10 PM.

Just like the route towards Al Ain, the E201 buses have scheduled departure timings ranging from every 30 minutes to one hour depending on passenger demand at different times of day.

And the Al Ghazal minibuses also maintain their high frequency with a bus leaving for Dubai every 30-40 minutes from early morning to late night.

So travelers have flexibility in terms of bus options and timings while returning to Dubai from Al Ain as well.

Tips for Traveling from Dubai to Al Ain by Bus

Here are some tips to make your bus ride between Dubai and Al Ain smooth:

  • Use the RTA website or app to check accurate bus times, stops, and fares.
  • Reach the bus station at least 15-20 minutes before departure to avoid missing the bus.
  • Carry some food and water for the 2-hour journey if needed.
  • Make sure to have some small change ready to purchase bus tickets or top up Nol cards.
  • Dress comfortably for the bus ride.

Following these simple tips will ensure you avoid any hassles reaching the bus station or during your journey.

Recommendations for first-time travelers on the route

If you are traveling from Dubai to Al Ain for the first time, here are some recommendations:

  • Check the RTA website to compare E201 and Al Ghazal bus features to choose the best option.
  • Book your ticket online in advance if taking the E201 bus to guarantee a seat.
  • Before boarding, take note of the bus route number and final destination displayed.
  • Tell the driver in advance if you need to disembark at a particular stop.
  • Carry a map to help navigate your onward journey from the bus station.

Additionally, don’t hesitate to ask the bus driver for help if you have any doubts about stops or transfers.


Traveling from Dubai to Al Ain by bus is an affordable and convenient transport option. The direct E201 route launched in 2019 has made the journey faster, along with the budget Al Ghazal minibuses that have multiple daily departures. Key aspects for passengers to note are the bus schedules and frequencies, ticket prices, amenities, journey duration, and route stops. Planning the trip keeping these things in mind will ensure a smooth and comfortable ride.

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