Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced that the first batch of NOL cards, a smartcard that is used to access public transport services, will expire by August.
The inaugural batch of NOL cards were issued in August 2009 just before Dubai Metro began operations. The cards will expire after five years from the date of issue, said RTA.
“We would wish to remind the public to pay attention to the expiry dates of various types of gold, silver and blue NOL cards regularly used in daily travels aboard public transit means, and obtain newly valid cards instead,” said Khalid Al Awadhi, director of Automated Fare Collection, RTA’s Corporate Technical Support Services Sector.
He emphasised that public transport users were required to keep a minimum balance in cards that are nearing expiry.
The minimum balance for gold, silver and blue NOL cards is Dhs5.8 while it is Dhs2.9 for blue NOL cards issued to students and senior citizens.
“Users of expired NOL cards who have balances in their cards higher than the minimum level can continue using their cards after their expiry till the balances run out. However, it would not be possible for them to top them up,” said Al Awadhi.
Public transport usage in Dubai has been growing strongly in the last few years. According to figures revealed by the RTA, public transport users in the emirate amounted to 262 million during the first half of 2014 compared to 165 million in the same period last year.
“The share of public transport grew from six per cent in 2006 to 13 per cent in 2013 and is expected to hit 14 per cent by the end of this year,” said Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of the board and executive director of RTA.
“This sustained growth has been made thanks to an integrated mass transit means network comprising the Dubai Metro, a modern fleet of public buses and marine transit means comprising traditional abras, water bus, Dubai Ferry, and the water taxi.
“The last quarter of this year will witness the launch of the Dubai Tram; a further addition to public transit means poised to serve a large segment of residents in an area characterised by high population density and a hub for visitors heading to it throughout the year.”