Dubai: Nol cards are on their way out as the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) considers a near field communication (NFC) initiative that utilises smartwatches to pay for public transport services, Gulf News can confirm.
On display at the 35th Gitex Technology Week, the NFC-enabled wrist watches will function much in the same way as NFC-enabled smartphones.
“We have tied up with a firm, Watch2pay, for the devices,” said Khalid Al Awadhi, Director of Automated Fare Collection at RTA. “We have tested the devices and they have received the pass certificate by our technical team. Currently, we are conducting a survey with the commuters to have their feedback on the product and to find out what prices and designs would be ideal.”
Following the survey, the RTA will finalise the business model, the designs and prices of the watches.
“We are looking at various designs, particularly targeting the youth. We also [looking at] trendy colours for men and women. The prices will depend on the design and feature of the products, but we will keep it in the affordable range,” Al Awadhi added.
The wearable smart devices will also be embedded with credit cards and will be able to do all that a regular Nol card does.
“People will be able to use the NFC-enabled watches to pay for metro, bus and taxi fares as well as using [them] to for shopping through the embedded credit card. The watches will have Nol top ups through top-up machines, ticket counters or though mobile apps,” he said.
RTA has also introduced Nol balance transfer feature on it Public Transport app. Balances can now be transferred from one nol card to another by opening the app and tapping the cards on an NFC-enabled mobile phone.