09/15/2009 10:55 PM | By Ashfaq Ahmed Chief Reporter
Dubai: Commuters using the public transport, including the Dubai Metro, should ensure they have enough credit in their Nol cards before starting their journey.
"We call upon the commuters to check the balance in their Nol cards to ensure that they have enough credit to complete their journey in multiple travel zones to avoid delays, especially during peak hours," said Peyman Younes Parham, a spokesperson of the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
He advised commuters to plan their journey in advance and check the links between the different modes of transport including the Metro and the public buses to benefit from the integrated transport system.
Many public transport commuters, especially those using only the buses, have been facing problems recharging their Nol cards. They also complain of 'over-charging' of fares due to the malfunctioning of Nol card reading machines in the buses.
"I ended up paying Dh5.80 for a journey which should have cost me Dh2.30 because the card reading machine at the exit of the bus did not read my card to complete the 'check out' process," said a commuter.
A passenger must 'check in' by tagging his Nol card on the card reading machine at the entry of the bus or the gates at the Metro station and he must 'check out' at the exit gate of the bus or at the Metro station to complete his journey. Maximum fare is charged if he fails to 'check out'.
Another commuter wrote to Gulf News that many ticket vending machines near bus stops and bus stations do not work and many passengers could not top up their Nol cards.
"The driver of the bus refused me a ride, asking me to buy a new card," he added.
"We have received complaints from many passengers that they were being charged extra," said an RTA official. He explained that passengers should know that the old fare system has been replaced with the Unified Automated Fare Collection system and Nol cards have been introduced.
"Now the fare is collected based on the zoning system as Dubai has been divided into five zones and the old fixed bus fare of Dh2 is no longer valid," he added.
Fares for all public transport modes including the Metro and the buses are the same.
The fare ranges from a minimum Dh1.80 to a maximum Dh6.50 for a single journey depending on the zones involved.
The fare is calculated based on the distance covered irrespective of whether a passenger travels by train, bus or both to complete a single journey.
Meanwhile, the RTA statistics revealed that 42,782 passengers used the Metro on Monday, pushing up the total number of passengers served by the Metro to 279,782 in five days.
Do you know about the different zones when riding Dubai Metro? Have you faced any difficulties when using Nol cards? How has your experience been on the Metro?