Dubai: Commuters travelling to and from Dubai using inter-city buses of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), except on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai route, may now use Nol cards for ease of payment.

Adel Mohammad Shakeri, Director of Transportation Systems at RTA’s Public Transport Agency, said the paperless mode of payment for inter-city buses applies to outbound public bus trips heading outside the emirate starting from eight main stations, namely, Al Ghubaiba, Ittihad, Satwa, Karama, Sabkha, Deira City Centre, Abu Hail, and Ibn Battuta, which serve all routes and several other destinations such as Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, and Fujairah.

“The Automated Fare Collection System currently in place is applicable on all routes with the exception of the Abu Dhabi to Dubai route, where the paper ticket option is still in use, but will be suspended shortly,” Shakeri said.

The move to generalise the Unified Fare Collection System or Nol cards in all inter-city bus services from and to Dubai emirate and eliminate the old traditional payment system via paper tickets was introduced in keeping with the rapid developments seen by public transport in Dubai.

“After the success of the Automated Fare Collection System in buses within Dubai emirate, the agency has generalised this method of payment in all inter-city bus trips from and to the emirate throughout the bus stations dotting Dubai emirate and other cities in the UAE,” Shakeri said.

Shakeri said Nol cards were primarily issued to replace paper tickets in paying public transport fares, which translates into the global concepts of conserving the environment through reducing wood consumption, the sole source of paper manufacturing.

“The inter-city public buses make 900 daily trips through 12 routes connecting Dubai with other emirates, lifting more than 35,000 passengers, whereas the seven routes connecting Dubai emirate with Sharjah carry more than 17,000 passengers a day,” Shakeri said.

More than five million cards have been issued since the Nol card system was launched in September 2009. More than one million transactions have been executed through the multi-purpose uses of the card, which can be used in Dubai public buses, inter-city buses, Dubai Metro, Dubai water buses and parking meters.

Shakeri said three types of Nol cards can be used for inter-city trips: Silver, Gold, and Personal. Nol Red Cards, however, cannot be used for inter-city services.

For the convenience of commuters, payment through the card is made by tapping it on the Nol reader, where the value of the required service is deducted instantly.