Dubai: If you are taking the bus, Metro or Tram in Dubai for the first time, it is important to first get a Nol card, which is the accepted payment option on most RTA services. But which Nol card should you get, and how can you get one? Here is all you need to know.
Different types of Nol cards
Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) offers the following Nol card options to public transport users:
1. Nol Red ticket
The red ticket is a disposable paper card, which can be purchased for Dh2. This is perfect for one-off usage. However, it is important to note that on this ticket you can only choose one mode of transport at a time – either the bus, Metro or tram.
It is valid for 90 days or 10 single trips.
You do not need to provide any documents to apply for a Red ticket.
2. Nol Silver card
For a one-time payment of Dh25 (with Dh19 that can be spent on services), the silver card is valid for five years. You do not need to provide any documents to apply for a silver card.
The Silver Nol card can be used for all public transport services by RTA, including water taxis and abras, and can also be used to pay for non-transport related services, like paying for parking or purchasing groceries at outlets that have partnered with RTA and accept Nol card payments.
3. Nol Gold card
The Gold card allows users the ability to access the Gold Class cabins on Dubai Metro and Dubai Tram. To get the card, you need to pay Dh25 (with Dh19 that can be spent on services). It is also valid for five years and can be used on all transport services and other payments like the Nol Silver card.
You do not need to provide any documents to apply for the Gold card.
4. Nol Blue card
This is a personalised card which requires activation and is linked to your Emirates ID. You need to provide your photograph and Emirates ID at the Metro ticket office and pay Dh70 (with Dh20 that can be spent on services). You can also apply for the card through the RTA website – www.rta.ae
If you want to apply for concessions on public transport, because you are a person of determination or a senior citizen, you would need to apply for the Nol Blue card.
How can I get a Nol card?
Depending on which card you want to get, you can apply for the Nol card at any Metro ticket station, at a ticket vending machine or online on rta.ae
Once you have the Nol card, you can then easily use the public transport services offered by RTA. The RTA pricing system has integrated the bus, Metro and tram rides and only considers how far you have travelled during a trip, regardless of which mode you have used.
The price is calculated based on how many 'zones' you have crossed. The RTA has divided it's public transport network into seven zones. So, you could switch from a Metro trip to a bus and then a tram and if you are in the same zone, it will be considered as a single trip. Just make sure the time taken to use the next mode of transport is less than 30 minutes! Any trips taken after 30 minutes, even if within the same zone, will be charged as a separate trip.
Depending on the card you choose, this is how much you can be charged for using public transport:
Within one zone - Dh3-Dh6
Two adjacent zones - Dh5-Dh10
More than two zones - Dh7.5-Dh10
Students, senior citizens, people of determination and children under the age of five travel for free.
Use the Nol card for buying groceries, fast food
You can also use your Nol card to make purchases like picking up groceries from a supermarket or getting a burger at fast food restaurants. RTA has partnered with several restaurants, supermarkets, clinics, fuel stations and government departments, to allow users to use their Nol card as a debit card, where you can make electronic payments and the amount is deducted from your e-purse.