The personalised card offers unlimited travel time over 30 days. For illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: If you want to apply for a Monthly Pass on the Metro, make sure you have an Emirates ID card too.

"It is an absolute must to present a valid national ID card in applying for a Monthly Pass. This is RTA policy," Mohammad Yousuf Al Mudharreb, Director of the Unified Automated Fare Collection Department at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

The Monthly Pass, which will have the owner’s photo, was launched on August 12 allowing unlimited use of the Metro and public transport buses for 30 days. It costs Dh270 for regular commuters, Dh170 for students and Dh200 Emirati elderly and free for special needs people. It is different from a Blue Nol card, which costs Dh70 and is a secure and personalised smart card with an e-purse enabling the user a top-up to Dh500 and valid for use on all integrated public transport modes in Dubai.

The RTA has thus joined other government entities that require people to have an Emirates ID Card to avail services. In April 2009, Dubai Courts became the first government entity in Dubai to require Emirates ID card for all transactions. In October last year, Dubai Municipality announced that Emirates ID will be mandatory for its employees.

Commuters in Dubai can choose between Silver, Gold and Blue Nol cards and Red tickets. More than 3 million cards were sold since September 2009, with silver being the most popular at 3,000 cards sold daily. The Monthly Pass is the fifth category of e-cards or tickets used in public transport.

“The Monthly Pass is cost-effective for a regular user. It costs only Dh270 for 30 days, which is much less -- Dh9 daily -- compared to Dh420 if he reaches the maximum daily fare of Dh14 with the Silver Card,” said Al Mudharreb. “In contrast, the London tube charges an equivalent of Dh1,300 for a monthly pass.”

All you need to know about the Dubai Metro

Al Mudharreb said that for students to qualify for a 50 per cent discount with Monthly Pass, they must be between five- to 23-years old and must produce a certificate from their school stating that they are full-time students.

“They must be enrolled in an accredited institute, school or college in the UAE. Students in any accredited school within the UAE can apply for a Blue Nol card, but part-time students don't get discounts,” said Al Mudharreb.

The card can also be used as a free travel pass for special needs passengers with permanent disabilities, but this applies to those with special needs cards issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs.

How to apply for a Monthly Pass:

1. Get a form from the counter at any Metro station and fill it up
2. Submit two ID pictures with white background
3. Pay according to your category *
4. Card will be mailed to you in three weeks
5. Bring the Blue card to a Metro station staff for one-time activation

* A Monthly Pass costs Dh270 for regular commuters, Dh170 for students and Dh200 Emirati senior citizens. It is free for special needs people.
* For regular commuters, there are different charges for the Monthly Pass (or 30-day pass): Dh100 for travel within one zone, Dh180 for travel within two adjacent zones, and Dh270 for travel in all zones.

‘Rezoning does not impact fare structure'

RTA's new re-zoning scheme does not affect the original Metro fare structure, said Mohammad Yousuf Al Mudharreb. Here are the zonal fares: The Metro still charges Dh1.8 for short trips (3km or less, regardless of zones cross); Dh2.30 within one zone but more than 3km; Dh4.1 if crossing two zones; and Dh5.8 if crossing three zones or more.

The maximum fare from one end of the Green Line to the other is Dh4.1 per trip as it covers two zones. If the Green Line is used in conjunction with a bus, customers may be charged Dh5.8 if crossing three zones or more.

People can also apply for Nol Blue card through www.nol.ae