How to avoid bus fines in Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: If you are a regular commuter on the Dubai public bus, you need to keep in mind certain rules and etiquette to avoid any fines from the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), which can range anywhere from Dh100 to Dh500.

To raise awareness on these rules, RTA outlined the guidelines bus passengers should follow on October 30, Monday.

Five things to keep in mind while taking the bus

Here are the rules as per RTA:

1. Top up your nol card before using the bus

Always make sure you have enough balance on your nol card before you start your journey. According to RTA, passengers must have a balance of at least Dh7 for a one-way trip and Dh14 for a two-way trip.

You can easily top up your nol card at payment kiosks at some bus stops and all Metro stations or use the nolPay app for an online recharge.

If you don't know how much the trip is going to cost you, you can get a complete breakdown of the expected cost through the S'hail app, which is available for Apple and Android devices. Simply enter your current location and destination on the journey planner in the app and you will be able to see the cost of the trip when using public transport.

2. Make sure you tap your nol card on the e-card machine reader before you board

When you get onto a Dubai bus, you need to tap your nol card on the card reader next to the driver's seat to start recording your journey. When you reach your stop, tap the card again and the amount for the trip will automatically be deducted from the card. Failing to do so can lead to a fine from RTA.

In a six-day inspection campaign earlier this year, RTA penalised over 1,000 fare dodgers using public transport facilities. The penalty for using the public bus without paying the bus fare is Dh200.

3. Food and drinks are not permitted

If an individual is caught eating or drinking in a bus, they will have to pay a Dh100 fine.

4. Do not talk to the driver

According to RTA, “…causing any distraction or obstruction to the driver of public transport facilities or services while he is driving,” can result in a Dh200 fine.

If you have any questions, complaints or inquiries, you can instead contact the RTA call centre – 800 9090.

5. Report lost items

If you lose an item on the Dubai Bus, contact the Dubai Police non-emergency hotline on 901. Alternatively, you can also contact the RTA call centre – 800 9090, to report any lost belongings.

It is also important to note that priority seating in the front of the buses is for senior citizens, women, children and people of determination. According to the list of fines from RTA, entering or sitting in places allocated for specific people inside the bus, like women's seating areas, leads to a fine of Dh100.

All the Dubai Bus fines

There are 20 types of violations related to public bus use in Dubai. Here is a complete list of penalties, as per RTA:

1. Using public transport modes, facilities and services or entering / existing fare zones without paying the due fare: Dh200
2. Failure to present a nol Card upon request: Dh200
3. Using someone else’s personalised nol card: Dh200
4. Using an expired card: Dh200
5. Using an invalid card: Dh500
6. Using a fake card: Dh200
7. Selling nol cards without prior permit from RTA: Dh500
8. Destroying, sabotaging or tampering with the systems, tools or seats of the public transport vehicles: Dh200
9. Spitting, littering, engaging in any act that may contaminate public transport modes, facilities and services: Dh100
10. Causing inconvenience to users of public transport modes, facilities and services in any way whatsoever: Dh200
11. Smoking inside public transport modes, facilities and services: Dh200
12. Taking hazardous materials onboard public transport modes, facilities and services including weapons, sharp materials or inflammable items: Dh200
13. Taking alcohol onboard public transport modes, facilities and services: Dh200
14. Selling goods and commodities onboard public transport modes, facilities and services or promoting the same through any type of advertisement or propaganda: Dh200
15. Opening public buses’ door or leaving it open during the movement between stations or during parking: Dh100
16. Carrying or using materials or equipment which may annoy other passengers or may endanger their safety: Dh100
17. Sleeping in bus shelters or in undesignated places: Dh300
18. Acting in a way that may cause a public transport driver to lose attention or obstructing his vision while driving: Dh200
19. Standing or sitting on part of public transport modes, facilities and services that is not allocated for passenger use: Dh100
20. Eating and drinking in prohibited places: Dh100

How to pay bus fines in Dubai

If you do commit one of these mistakes, you can pay the fine in the following ways:
• Visit the Happiness Centre in Al Barsha, Al Manara, Al Kifaf and Al Twar.
• Pay the inspector directly, after the fine has been issued.
• A ‘Knowledge and Innovation Fee’ of Dh20 will be charged along with your fine.