Way to go. Buses in Abu Dhabi will soon have automated payment systems Image Credit: Abdul Rehman/XPRESS

ABU DHABI Abu Dhabi is introducing an automated payment system in public buses making cashless commute a reality.

From May 15 passengers can pay their fares using Hafilat Smart Cards which can be topped up at ticket offices or vending machines.

“This smart card or ticket deducts the bus fare from the cash value stored in the T-purse (travel wallet that stores credit). Passengers are charged based on the distance covered from the moment they board the bus,” said Mohammad Nasser Al Otaiba, acting general manager of the Bus Office at the Department of Traffic.

Al Otaiba said the new system will be implemented in phases and gradually replace cash payment and travel passes.

Commuters can either buy a permanent Hafilat card or a temporary one. Temporary cards are valid for 14 days from the purchase date and can be recharged with anything from Dh1 to Dh150.

Speical card

For people who wish to travel within the city, there’s a special Dh30 card valid for seven days.

The permanent card has two versions -- a personal card with details of the user and another without them.

Both can be used to travel within the city. The card holder can either add a fixed weekly value of Dh30 or a monthly value of Dh80.

Personal card users will have their photo affixed to the card and can obtain special offers and privileges with repeated use.

There are also annual cards for special needs and elderly passengers allowing them free travel throughout the year.

Student cards are specially designed with a value of Dh500, which can be renewed every year.

Calculation of fares

Othaiba said fares of travel between cities will differ from inter-city travel.

“Any one-way trip within the city costs Dh2. Travelling outside the city is Dh2 in addition to an extra five fils per kilometre. Bus travel between cities is Dh10 in addition to 10 fils per kilometre.”

Mohammad Bani Malek, section Head of ITS Solutions at DoT said four or five card validating machines are installed near the entry and exit doors of each bus and passengers will have to scan their cards when they board and leave the bus. Passengers are charged for the distance they covered in a trip.

Where to buy Hafilat cards

Hafilat cards can be bought and recharged from ticket offices at all major bus stations. In addition, automated vending machines have been installed in bus stops and duty free shops at airports. These machines can print permanent and temporary cards as well recharge credit using cash or credit cards. A total of 140 Swift Reloading machines have been installed in bus stops and in some shopping malls and government buildings. They can print cards but the machine only accepts banknotes, and cannot issue change.

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