Abu Dhabi is built for cars. As a result, there are a lot of them and lots of traffic jams in the down town area.
Taxis are a great way for people to travel around Abu Dhabi if they don't have a car. They are also fairly cheap compared to other developed countries.
The most common kind of taxi is the silver taxi. These can be flagged down anywhere in Abu Dhabi, if you happen to see one passing. They start at AED3.50. Check the sticker on the window to see what they charge. Their speed is monitored and are not allowed to go over 120km/h. The sign on top is yellow.
To see if they are available, check the sign on top of the cab. If they are available, the lights in the middle will be off and at night, the sign will be lit. If they are not available, the sign will be unlit and the red lights in the middle will be on.
Airport taxis look more modern and have a display on top which shows you if the taxi is available or taken in English and Arabic.
You can only get on them at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
The yellow and gold taxis are not in service any more. You'd be lucky to even see one.
You are not expected to tip cab drivers, but gratuity will be extremely appreciated. Many taxi drivers are displaced persons, far from their home countries and families, so often they take out pictures of family members for you to comment on.
The main Bus station in Abu Dhabi is on Hazaa Bin Zayed Road. You can get buses here going to the different points within the city as well as inter city buses. The bus stand also serves as a taxi stand, for inter-emirate taxis.
The fare system is simple: AED2 for a single ride within Abu Dhabi City, AED4 for a single ride on a regional bus, or DAED80 for a one-month Ojra pass. Local buses require exact fare pre-loaded on a single or multiple use smart cards, regional buses including the A1 airport bus will give change. The dark bluish green buses are air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. Passengers can board and alight at the designated stops along the route. These locations can be identified by the temporary Department of Transport bus stop poles.
Beware: bus stops that do not have the DoT bus stop sign may not be served as not all bus stops along the route are used.
Route 005: Al Maryah Sowwah Square to Marina Mall via Abu Dhabi Mall and Hamden Street. Every 10min, every 30min at night, 24 hours
Route 007: Al Reem Shams Gate to Marina Mall via Zayed the 1st Street (also known as Electra). Every 10 min, every 30 min at night, 24 hours.
Route 008: Tourist club to Break Water via Hamdan Street, Zayed the 2nd (via 4th) Street, Airport Road, Al Manhal Street. Every 20min, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours.
Route 009: Al Marina to Al Mina Souq via Al Falah Street. Every 20 minutes, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours.
Route 010: Ras Al Akhdar to Al Mina Co-Op via Al Falah Street. Every 20 minutes, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours.
Route 011: Al Marina to Al Mina Fishermen Association via Hazzaa Bib Zayed Street. Every 20 minutes, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours.
Route 032: Sports City Carrefour to Marina Mall via Airport Road, Bus Station, and Zayed the 1st Street. Every 20 min, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours.
Route 034: Ras Al Akhdar to Abu Dhabi Courts via Al Marina and Muroor Road. Every 20 minutes, evevery 60 minutes at night. 24 hours.
Route 040: Al Maryyah to Khalifa Park South via Zayed 1st Street and Khäleej Al Arabi Road. Every 20 minutes, every 60 minutes at night. 24 hours.
Route 044: Al Mina Fishermen Association to Officers Club. Every 20 min, every 60 min at night, 24 hours
Route 052: Al Maryyah to Umm Al Naar via Airport Road. Every 20 minutes, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours.
Route 054: Sports City Carrefour to Abu Dhabi Mall via East Read, Bus Station, and Hamden Street. Every 20 min, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours. This bus stops outside the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
Route 056: Al Mina Souq to Khalifa Park Entrance. Every 20min, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours
Route 063: Al Reem Shams Gate to Marina Mall via Corniche Rd. Every 20min, every 60min at night, 24 hours
Drivers in Abu Dhabi have the reputation of being reckless drivers. It is not uncommon to see cars change lanes at random, pull out in front of other cars or trigger radar/speed cameras. If you rent/own a car in Abu Dhabi, be extremely careful. Tests for alcohol can be administered, and even the blood-alcohol level rise from a glass of wine will be sufficient grounds for one month's incarceration.
If you do decide to take the plunge, beware that the street numbering system is unusual and it can take 30-45 days to get used to it. U-turns are allowed at almost every intersection. When the left lane signal turns green, you simply have to swing a U-turn and come back. Whatever other flaws drivers here may have, they do not run red lights. There are cameras at many intersections, fines are high (about AED500), and residents who are not citizens can be deported for running too many red lights. When the light turns yellow, that taxi in front of you will jam on the brakes, and you should, too. When the light turns green, however, expect someone behind you to honk at you immediately to get you moving.
Traffic lights will flash green before turning to yellow.
Unfortunately, despite excellent roads, and a traffic signal system, vehicle accidents remains the largest cause of deaths in the UAE.
While walking in Abu Dhabi is not a problem for locals, tourists from the colder countries will suffer from the heat and sun. Temperatures in Abu Dhabi can exceed 50 degrees Celsius, although the weather reports "change" the forecasts so that they say it is cooler than it actually is.
Jaywalking is illegal in Abu Dhabi just as it is in the USA, but you would expect that from the reckless drivers. Pedestrian crossings are far in-between, especially on Reem Island, where most of the traffic lights in the near-empty and blocked-off parts are turned off.
On some intersections, the pedestrian lights will have a timer at the top to see how long you have before the lights change.
Extreme caution is recommended when crossing at lights, and especially pedestrian/zebra crossings. There is no chance a local will stop for you at a crossing, and you will be injured/killed unless proper care is taken on your part. Some expats who have arrived recently may stop for you.