Taxi travellers in the emirate of Dubai can now pay the fare for their trip by debit, credit or Nol card, according to an announcement made by the Road and Transport Authority (RTA) on Wednesday.
There are already 20 taxis on the road with the new payment options. RTA began equipping 1,000 more vehicles with the new technology on Wednesday.
The move is mainly intended to benefit tourists who often arrive in Dubai without any cash in hand or with little knowledge about the local currency, said Youssef Al Ali, CEO of the Public Transport Agency at the RTA.
The first batch of taxis equipped with the new technology will therefore be the airport taxis, he explained. After the airport taxis have been equipped, the Hala taxi will be refitted and eventually all franchise taxis will be included in the scheme.
By mid-2015, all 87,000 taxis in Dubai should have the new payment options available, the RTA said. Once the technology is in place, passengers will have four payment options -- cash, debit card, credit card or Nol card.
While payment by credit/debit card adds an extra charge of Dh2 to the fare, payment by Nol card will add Dh1.
The payment solution is provided by Network International. The technology will accept Visa, Mastercard, JCB, China Union Pay, and Diners, said Bhairav Trivedi, CEO of the payment solutions provider.
“Nol cards and credit and debit cards of various types from all around the world can be used to pay the taxi fare if you don’t have cash,” said Al Ali.
If the customer would like to tip the driver, this is also possible, as the device has a button for this, added Adel Shakri, Director of Transportation Systems.
All types of Nol cards can be used but the fare will be the same. “The Nol card is considered one of the most secure cards thanks to its high tech and multiple features,” said Abdullah Al Madani, CEO of the Corporate Technical Support Services Sector at RTA.
The RTA expects the initiative to increase taxi travel in the emirate by 0.5 per cent.
“The taxi business is seeing remarkable growth in Dubai, thanks to rising demand from residents and tourists. The demand is especially high during peak seasons when Dubai hosts conventions, exhibitions and fairs, said Al Ali.
Shakri said there is a plan to increase the taxi fleet till 2020.