Dubai: The city's Metro and bus commuters are not happy about the new rule by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) that has effectively increased the minimum balance stored in Nol cards.
The RTA has recently announced that, to avoid journey interruptions, passengers need to ensure their card has at least Dh5.80 left, which is more than double the minimum fare. Transport fares range from Dh1.80 to Dh6.50 for a single trip, depending on the distance taken.
“To start your journey on public transport in Dubai, the minimum balance needed in your Nol card is Dh5.80,” RTA announced on its Facebook page. The same announcement has been posted in Metro stations and buses.
Passengers said the new rule is causing them inconvenience, especially when there are no recharge machines available or they have to get off the bus because their card has less than Dh5.80 left.
“I remember it used to be very convenient to take the Metro. When I only had a little over Dh2 left in my card, I would be able to take the train even if the fare was Dh4.10. RTA would simply deduct the balance the next time I reload my card,” Michelle, an expatriate in Dubai, told Gulf News.
One passenger who learned about the new scheme on Wednesday complained that he was blocked entry at the Metro station gate although he still had more than Dh4 left on the Nol card, which is more than enough to cover the minimum fare.
“I was only going one stop away which is about Dh1.80. It is quite infuriating to know that even if I have the right amount of money on my card, I won’t be allowed to use the metro,” the passenger said on Reddit, an online forum.
Abdul Rahman, a Facebook user, said the new scheme will be even more inconvenient for people taking the public bus because there are hardly any recharge machines available. “Someone enters the bus and punches the card, then the machine shows [there is not enough] balance and he has to go out of the bus because there is no facility to recharge the card,” he said.
Another passenger, Mohamath Faizal, said he had the same problem when he tried to take the bus last August 11. “I kept the balance of Dh4.10 [but] the machine in the bus was showing that the purchase is low.”
“I was surprised and took the taxi to reach my destination. They should have the recharge option in all the buses. At least the drivers should keep the Nol cards to purchase in [case of] emergency.”