Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has invested Dhs350m to upgrade its card-based ticketing system (nol) to a central wallet technology or account-based ticketing system.
RTA said the new system offers integrated packages encompassing a diverse array of services, coupled with the issuance of family and group tickets. It incorporates payment through smart devices and leverages artificial intelligence technologies, such as facial recognition.
The upgrade enhances the user experience by providing direct access to information such as account balances, travel history, ticket pricing, and fare calculations. It enables users to easily manage their accounts, and handle issues related to lost cards among many other features.
Furthermore, it offers several innovative features such as supporting trip planning, booking, and pre-payment through smart channels.
“Upgrading the nol system contributes to leveraging the public transport payment system in Dubai. It is a crucial step towards embracing the swift global advancements in digital payment solutions and fintech, which perfectly aligns with the government’s Cashless Dubai initiative,” said Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the RTA.
“Since its inception in 2009, RTA has issued over 30 million nol cards. In 2023, the card daily use average reached about 2.5 million payment transactions, to a value that exceeds Dhs2bn.”
The new system links all issued cards to individual customer accounts as well as to accounts belonging to companies and multi-user entities. This integration enhances the security of personal and customer data, ensuring privacy protection.
The Dhs350m upgrade also offers an array of features that provide considerable flexibility in refining operational processes and monitoring the performance of the system.
RTA introduced the nol Card on September 9, 2009, coinciding with the launch of Dubai Metro. The card has facilitated the mobility of public transport riders and the payment of public parking fees across the emirate.
The transport regulator extended the card’s functionalities to encompass payment services in retail outlets and to cover entrance fees for various public and private establishments in Dubai in 2017.
RTA speeds up its digital strategy
The upgrading of the nol system is one of the key deliverables of RTA’s Digital Strategy Roadmap 2023-2030 launched last December.
The strategy aims to position authority as a global frontrunner in digital transformation driven by an optimal investment of data. It seeks to develop a flexible and 100 per cent scalable digital infrastructure, ensuring 100 per cent fintech integration in mobility solutions.
RTA unveiled its Dhs1.6bn digital strategy, with 82 projects and initiatives that are aimed at strengthening the authority’s digitalisation journey by optimising the use of data and constructing infrastructure that is agile and scalable.
The digital strategy aligns with the company’s Strategic Plan 2024-2030, and Dubai Digital Strategy. It seeks to enhance collaboration with partners, undertaking projects advocating emerging technologies to accelerate the pace and impact of future digital transformation, and optimising the investment in data.