Rental Cars vs. Public Transportation: A Quick Comparison

Rental cars and public transport have always been up for debate in that which one is more convenient. The UAE is famous for its rental car industry and offers state-of-the-art public transportation infrastructure. Hence, visitors are torn between car rental or public transportation. Therefore, to clear the air of confusion here’s a detailed comparison between these transportation methods.

A detailed comparison between rental cars and public transportation

There are several different types of public transportation methods in the UAE, all of which have been developed to provide convenience to travellers.

Similarly, the region has also become extremely popular for its car rental industry. Everything from economical to high-end luxury cars, you can rent the car you desire in the UAE.
With both these travel methods showcasing their advantages and drawbacks, the choice is a bit tricky.  Therefore, to help you decide between choosing a luxury car rental in Dubai or preferring public transport, here are a few points to consider.

  • Cost
  • Convenience & comfort
  • Flexibility
  • Options


One of the first things we consider while choosing between public transport and rental cars is the cost. Right off the bat, you must know that public transport is relatively affordable compared to renting a car. 

However, there are different layers to cost. Concerning public transport, the cost is incurred based on the destination of travel. On the other hand, when you opt for a car rental, the cost is based on the duration of the rental and the type of vehicle. 

In the UAE, when you choose to travel around by bus or the Metro, your costs are very minimal. The city is divided into different zones, based on which there are certain fixed costs. 

But when you choose to travel by public taxi, the same distance might cost more. If you decide to rent a car, you must know that long-term rentals can get you the best deals compared to short-term rentals. 

Convenience & comfort 

Regarding convenience and comfort, rental cars are far ahead of public transportation. Renting a car allows you to travel anywhere you desire in your comfort. You can choose a car based on your budget and preference and travel with convenience. 

On the other hand, during peak travel hours, the UAE’s public transports are busy and crowded. Therefore, convenience and comfort are aspects you cannot expect while travelling on public transport. 


Flexibility is another major factor when choosing between public transportation and rental cars. Location and time are two of the main aspects that come under flexibility. 

When you travel on public transport, you are also bound to time restrictions and location. Public transport, like buses and Metro, only provides access to some locations. If you prefer a taxi, the cost of travel automatically increases. 

On the other hand, when renting a car, you are free to travel at any given time to a desired location. Unlike public transportation, you don’t have to wait for your vehicle to arrive at a specific time or place. Therefore, the flexibility you enjoy by renting a car is what makes it more desirable.


When you look at public transport, your options are quite limited. You either choose the Metro, take a bus, or book a taxi. Subsequently, you can also travel on tram and monorail in some locations.

The scenario with rental cars may be different. You have a large selection of cars that you can choose from. If you prefer a premium experience, you can opt for a luxury car, or if you desire speed, there’s always the option to rent a sports car. Therefore, car rental provides a greater scope of options. 

Types of public transportation in Dubai

Types of public transportation in Dubai. Image: Supplied

There are three primary forms of public transportation in Dubai. All of these are easily accessible throughout the city. Following are some of the necessary details regarding public transportation to Dubai. 


The Dubai Metro covers most of the significant locations in the city. There are 47 metro stations across the city, with two lines referred to as the green and red lines.

What’s important to note is that the Metro system is limited to the city of Dubai and is currently not present in any of the other Emirates. There’s an extension to the metro network, which is referred to as the orange line. 

The tram system is operated on the orange line connecting to the Marina region. There’s also a monorail line that currently operates on the Palm Jumeirah. 


RTA buses are another form of public transportation. These buses operate within the city of Dubai, with certain buses travelling across other Emirates. There are a total of 1500 buses that are currently operational. 


The Dubai taxi is operated by DTC (Dubai Taxi Corporation). There are over 3000 taxis that are currently operated in the city. You book these taxis online or find them at their dedicated stations. Taxi fares are decided based on the distance of travel. 

Rental cars and their growing popularity

Car rental has become exponentially popular in the UAE. From high-end to economical cars, a wide range of options are available in the car rental business. 

One of the major reasons for its popularity is the attractive pricing car rentals offer. Not only that, but you can hire a car of your choice for periods ranging from one day up to one month. Additionally, car rentals provide insurance as part of their package. 

All of these factors add to the convenience of car rental, thus making it a desirable option to travel. 

Rental cars vs. public transportation: Choose the most efficient option 

In this article, we have discussed all the factors that you must consider while choosing between car rental and public transportation. Based on these comparisons, we understand that renting is comparatively more expensive than opting for public transport. 

Apart from this, all the other factors lean towards car rental. Everything from convenience, and comfort to flexibility, makes car rental a better choice in Dubai. Having said that, these aspects are subjective and are based on your personal preference. 

ALSO READ: Things to remember when renting Porches in UAE

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