Dubai: The Nol card commonly used for Dubai transportation can now be used in over 5,000 locations, Dubai Municipality told Gulf News.
The move to make Nol cards usable for multiple purposes was first implemented in December 2017 when Dubai Municipality made them mandatory to access main public parks in Dubai.
Along with public parks, Nol cards can also be used in a range of restaurants and coffee shops, petrol stations, pharmacies, supermarkets, stores, and some clinics, said the municipality.
However, with the change came a few complaints raised about the change in payment method to enter some of the public parks.
One of the most popular organic food and crafts market, ‘The Ripe Market’, launched its indoor season on April 7 at Time Square Centre.
While the outdoor season attracts an average of 6,000 people to Zabeel Park every Friday from 9am to 4pm, many residents have complained about the change in payment method to enter the park in 2018.
Guests were previously charged Dh5 to access the park and enjoy their morning at the Ripe Market, and the rest of their day having a picnic. However, the new rule issued in December requires residents to purchase the Nol card for Dh25, of which Dh6 is used to activate the card, and the remaining balance is used for park entry, public transport, or any of the other listed services.
Dubai Municipality previously told Gulf News that main public parks in Dubai will no longer issue paper tickets to UAE residents. The move to Nol cards was made mandatory after the implementation of smart gates at parks including Zabeel Park, Al Mamzar Beach Park, Mushrif Park and Creek Park.
While the change is convenient for Dubai’s regular public transport users, residents who own a car find the mandatory requirement of buying a transport card unnecessary.
Gulf News talked to Laila Mahmoud from Palestine, 21, who said she was unable to go to the Ripe Market after the counter at Zabeel Park ran out of Nol cards.
“I was really looking forward to going to the Ripe Market and had been planning it for weeks. I got there and was surprised that they are now asking for a transport card to enter the park. For someone who never uses public transport, it is very inconvenient to be forced to buy a transport card just to enter a public park for a picnic or to visit the Ripe Market,” she said.
Mahmoud said she is looking forward to the market’s indoor season so she can avoid being turned back at the gate. “I think the outdoor season is definitely better because it gives people a chance to enjoy the weather and the outdoors, but being forced to buy a card I won’t use all year just to visit the market once or twice isn’t really fair,” she added.
Just the same, Kuwaiti Sarah Khalid, said she is unhappy about having to buy a transport card, she was not going to use all year round.
“I had planned to go to the market with my two-year-old son, and was annoyed that they were not charging people the usual Dh5 ticket at the gate. It is very unnecessary to force a large number of people who drive, to buy a train and bus card that is of no use to them,” said Khalid.
However, the municipality said the move is part of the civic body’s strategy to implement smart services and reduce the use of paper.
Ripe Market indoor season
Welcoming the hotter months of the year, the Ripe Market will be continuing its sixth season at the Time Square Trade Centre from April every Saturday, from 9am to 3pm, until October. Each week will feature over 100 stalls selling everything — from organic skincare, leather handbags and rustic homeware to handmade jewellery, unique fashion, art, baby clothes, home interiors and children’s toys. The market also offers organic essentials such as fruits and vegetables, along with eggs, local honey, dates, chicken, coconut oil, tea, coffee, juicing boxes, and superfoods among many dairy-free and gluten-free items.