A view of the Dubai Airport Terminal 1 Metro Station which will be opened for services from Friday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani, Gulf News

Dubai: As seven new stations on the Red Line of the Dubai Metro open on Friday, the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has run out of Silver Nol Cards — the most popular economy class prepaid travel card used on public transport.

"We will be issuing Blue Nol Cards instead of Silver Nol Cards for a limited period until we receive fresh stocks," said Pehman Younes Parham, Director of Marketing and Communication Department at the RTA. He said that authority ran out of Silver cards as the shipment was delayed from Europe due to recent flight disruptions because of the volcanic ash issue.

"Silver Nol Card is the most popular card and 90 per cent of more than two million cards sold far comprises of Silver Nol Cards," he added.

He said that commuters would be to get Blue Nol Cards which they would be able to use instead of Silver Card. "Blue cards will be loaded with same features as Silver Nol cards and it the cost will also be the same," he added. Normally, Nol Blue Cards are issued as a personalised card with the picture and personal details but it will now be sold as normal card just like Silver Nol Card for a limited period. However, he did not give any date when the Silver Nol Cards be made available.

Meanwhile, the RTA has announced that passengers will be able to use seven new stations starting 2pm today. The total number of stations will reach 18 on Friday while they number will increase to 21 on May 15 with the opening of three more stations.

Operating times

Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA said that the number of trains would be increased to 20 from the existing 12 during peak hours while 15 trains will operate during off-peak hours.

The number of trains will be increased gradually with the opening of new stations.

The trains will run with frequency of six minutes during peak hours and eight minutes frequency during off-peak time.

He said that Metro operator Serco has also done successful trial run of the trains.

The Metro has lifted about 13.68 million passengers and the number of daily commuters is about 80,000 passengers. The number is geared to rise in excess of 140,000 with the opening of the new metro stations. The number of the metro users is estimated to hit 35 million passengers in 2010 and is likely to receive a further boost in August 2011 with the operation of the Green Line, which serves vital areas with intense commercial and public activities.

The seven metro stations opening today include: Emirates, Airport Terminal 1, Al Karama, Emirates Towers, Dubai Internet City, Marina and Ibn Battuta.