Currently, the ticket vending machines (TVMs) are available only at metro and bus stations and at some select bus stops. Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Dubai: Mini ticket vending machines could soon be installed in public buses so commuters find it easier to top up Nol cards, confirmed an official with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

The machines — dubbed ticket vending machines (TVM) — will be available on both intra-city and intercity buses.

No deadline has been set for the installation.

“We have been discussing the idea of having mini TVMs on buses for sometime now. We are looking at different technologies that are available in the market and will soon invite tenders for the project,” Mohammad Al Ali, director of buses at RTA’s Public Transport Agency, said.

Currently, TVMs are available only at metro and bus stations and at some select bus stops.

“There are TVMs installed at 64 bus stops apart from those available at metro and bus stations. What we are trying to do is offer the services as conveniently as possible and expand the network as much as possible,” added Al Ali.

The initiative comes as RTA expands Nol payment network across all its services including urban and intercity routes.

Initially, the Nol payment system was available only on urban buses as well as metro, but gradually RTA has expanded the automated payment system across all its intercity services, causing inconvenience to commuters.

“There is not a single TVM between Hatta and Dubai and there no TVMs in other emirates as well, but RTA buses only accept payments through Nol cards on Hatta route as well as on Sharjah and other routes. This causes problems for those people who are not in Dubai and want to buy a Nol card or top up Nol credit,” said a commuter.

Until late last year, RTA buses between Dubai and Sharjah as well as other emirates accepted cash for tickets, however, since November last year Nol cards were made mandatory on all Sharjah routes, while on Hatta route the Nol card became mandatory earlier this year.

However, on Abu Dhabi and Fujairah routes, commuters still have an option of paying cash, but it may not be the case for long.

According to Al Ali, the move comes to solve this issue and offer commuters a new source to buy their tickets from.

“The idea is to not only make Nol cards and top up facilities available on the go but also offer other services like telecom bill payment as well mobile top up. We are working with various companies to offer bill payment and top up services through TVMs on buses,” Al Ali said.