Shalini Menezes Enough Nol card vending machines can help commuters avoid the trouble of going to a Metro station for a top-up on their cards, a reader says. Image Credit:

Dubai

I would like to draw attention to the massive crowd, which uses Bus Stop 445002 on Oud Metha Road in Dubai. The problem is that there is no vending machine nearby for the top-up.

Imagine this scenario; a commuter is on his or her way to an important interview or a meeting with a client, on the first day of work or meeting up with friends. This dear commuter hastily arrives at the bus stop in time to catch the designated bus. But, as this commuter steps inside, the rejecting sound of the NOL card reader is a stark reminder that the card is empty or the amount on the card is insufficient for onward travel.

This bus stop is located just outside a church and there is a mosque and many schools nearby, too. So, it is used by many people, including students.

Considering the proximity and focal point of this location, the crowd availing the bus stop facilities is pretty high. The bus routes from this particular stop extend all the way to iconic locations in International City, Gold Souq, Dubai Mall and Deira.

There are often instances wherein the passengers wishing to avail this bus facility realise that the amount loaded on the card is insufficient and the nearest point for reloading the NOL card is the Oud Metha Metro Station.

Considering the above, my suggestion is to install a NOL card machine at or close to this bus stop, thus avoiding the need to walk to the Metro station. There are many benefits. The commuters will have the facility to reload the card at the stop, thus reducing the strain at the Metro station. I hope the authorities look into this issue and find a solution.

— The reader is based in Dubai.

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FACTBOX:

The readers concerns were raised with the management of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

They stated: “We do have plans to install ticket vending machines (TVM) yearly based on our studies, however with more than 2,000 bus stops in Dubai it is not feasible to install TVMs at all the stops. Hence, the RTA has established many smart services to solve this.

- There is the option of online top up, rather than visiting a TVM to top up the card. Customers can reload the card online.

- There is the option of Smart NOL by phone through which the customer can use his or her phone to check in and check out from the bus and the credit will be through the network provider, Du or Etisalat.

- There is auto top up, wherein the customer can link his or her NOL card with a credit card to set a limit. For example, if a NOL card has Dh10, the system will automatically add Dh20.

- The customer can either opt for NOL products, which include either monthly or weekly, for the concerned or all zones. Customers can pay once, without worries of daily reload.

The RTA also plans in the near future to have public–private partnership TVMs to cover some busy areas, which will be decided after studying a number of factors.”