DUBAI // Customers will be able to pay their taxi fares with debit or credit cards, Nol cards or smartphones using technology that is being introduced.
Twenty taxis in Dubai already accept card and mobile payment after the Roads and Transport Authority linked up with Network International, a leading solutions provider.
The technology will be installed in the RTA’s fleet of 1,000 airport taxis before it is rolled out across all taxis by summer next year.
“This initiative will indisputably constitute an added-value service to public transport commuting in general and to taxi riding in particular,” said Dr Yousif Al Ali, chief executive of RTA’s public transport agency.
Dr Al Ali said 40 drivers had been trained to use the payment system and training would continue as the service spread throughout the fleet.
“The taxi service sector is witnessing remarkable growth in Dubai,” he said.
A fee of Dh2 will be added for debit and credit card transactions, and Dh1 will be added to Nol and smartphone transaction.
“This initiative will unquestionably raise the level of satisfaction of taxi commuters,” said Abdullah Al Madani, chief executive of the RTA’s corporate technical support services division.
“And the system is customised to enable taxi users to tip the taxi driver through the use of Nol, debit and credit cards.
Network International chief Bhairav Trivedi said: “This is a service that has long been needed in this market.
“It will directly address the needs of travellers who don’t always have the correct currency on hand to pay their fare.
“I have experienced a situation where my wife was stuck at a mall with just a credit card and she wasn’t able to get a taxi home.”
Customers have been asking for the service for years.
The RTA delayed it because it wanted a live payment system that would charge your card immediately, rather than the offline system available in most cities that charge your card later.
“Many things that look easy to use are actually very complicated to implement,” said Mr Trivedi. “It took a long time to put together, involving many parties, but this is a world-class system we have now.”
Mr Al Madani said the infrastructure brought in for this service could be used for many other services in the future.