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29 May 2023

Dubai Nol card now sold in other emirates

By Majorie van Leijen

Travellers to and from Dubai will no longer be able to purchase a paper ticket to get on the bus, as the Nol card has been introduced as the sole payment method on intercity bus travel.

With the exception of Abu Dhabi, where the old fashioned payment method will remain to exist until the end of this year, the paper ticket has been phased out and the Nol card has been introduced in all emirates, explained Adel Shakeri, Adel Shakeri, Director of Transportation Systems at the Road and Transport Authority (RTA).

Earlier this year the paper ticket was suspended from all stations in the emirate of Dubai, while it remained available in the other emirates until Nol card services were expanded.

“We have expanded the Nol card services to all emirates now except for Abu Dhabi. Passengers in other emirates will be able to purchase and top up a Nol card at several locations on all emirates,” added Adel.

Previously, the Nol card was available in other emirates through various sales agents, such as Carrefour, Spinneys, or Redha Al Ansari, but there were no purchase or top-up points at the bus stations. With the option of the paper ticket remaining, travellers from other emirates likely opted for the familiar.

Most intercity bus traffic is operated between Dubai and Sharjah, where 7 routes lift more than 17,000 passengers per day. “At all departure stations in Sharjah, passengers are able to top-up their Nol card through the ticket office machines,” said Adel.

Ticket office machines and vending machines have also been introduced in other emirates, as bus routes are operated between Dubai and Ajman, Fujairah and Hatta. Travellers can also top-up their Nol card online.

Although it may be a little confusing for travellers unfamiliar with the typical Dubai payment method, the RTA ascertains that the Nol card will only benefit the traveller. “The main reason for the pashing out of the paper ticket is to reduce queues at the bus stations. It will increase customer satisfaction,” said Adel.

Further, ridding the public of paper tickets in paying public transport fares translates into conserving the environment through reducing wood consumption, the sole source of paper manufacturing, he added.

The inter-city public bus network consists of 900 daily trips through 12 routes, lifting more than 35,000 passengers per day.

In Dubai, intercity buses depart from eight stations being Ghubaiba, Union, Satwa, Sabkha, Karama, Deira City Center, Ibn Batuta, and Abu Hail.