DUBAI // New fare cards for students, the elderly and those with special needs will be available from next month, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) officials announced today.
Disabled UAE residents, regardless of nationality, will be able to travel free with blue nol cards, which must be renewed every six months. Renewal will be free, but the cards come with a one-time fee of Dh70.
A 50 per cent fare discount will be available for UAE citizens 60 years and older, and the same concession will be offered to students of schools and colleges based in the Emirates.
“The RTA seeks to expand services by including more segments and encouraging them to use public transport in Dubai,” said Abdulla al Madani, the chief executive of the RTA’s corporate support services sector. The concessions also cover water-bus fares and parking fees in Dubai.
Upgrading of vending machine software and ticket gates has begun and will continue for three weeks, before the new cards are launched in March.
“The services will be exclusively available for those who buy the blue nol cards,” said Mr al Madani. “Since the cards are personalised, we can identify the user and know they are eligible for the benefits.”
Some 2.7 million nol cards have been issued since the Metro began operations in September 2009.
Officials said they did not anticipate glitches during the upgrade of services, but urged commuters to report any problems to the RTA helpline or website.
“There will be a trained team on the ground to help and advise people if there are any issues,” said Mohammed al Mudharreb, the director of the agency’s unified fare collection department. “If there are technical issues we would like the public to inform us.
The RTA also said red nol tickets that can currently be used on either the Metro or buses will work on both modes of transport beginning next month. A daily pass on the red ticket will also be available for tourists. Monthly passes for residents and students will likely be available later in the year.
The RTA plans to introduce additional services after its software systems are upgraded this month.
“This is our base to launch all new services,” Mr al Madani said “It will help us come up with more creative ideas and more services for customers.”