RTA announces Dhs350 million upgrade plan, allowing travel without Nol cards on Dubai transport

by Staff Reporter
Published: Updated:
New nol cards for students

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has awarded a contract to upgrade the existing nol (Card-Based Ticketing System) to a sophisticated, central wallet technology (Account Based Ticketing System), aligning with the top global practices.

This project, which requires an investment of Dhs350 million, is one of the key deliverables of RTA’s Digital Strategy Roadmap 2023-2030 launched last December.


The strategy aims to position RTA as a global frontrunner in digital transformation driven by an optimal investment of data. It seeks to develop a flexible and 100% scalable digital infrastructure, ensuring 100% fintech integration in mobility solutions.

Upgrading of RTA nol card system in Dubai

Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General,  Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA, said, “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. Since its inception in 2009, RTA had 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 Dhs2 billion.”

Upgrading of RTA nol card system in Dubai

Transport fare wallet technology

“The project provides a digital payment system that leverages a centralised transport fare wallet technology, ensuring seamless integration across transit modes in Dubai. It brings in a multitude of benefits and advantages that include extensive upgrading of the technology used in payment systems to align it with the most stringent standards of electronic and financial security. It also improves the operational aspects and maximises the utility of data generated by the system, besides providing personalised services and products finely tailored to customer requirements.

New features in nol cards

“The new system has several innovative features such as supporting trip planning, booking, and pre-payment through smart channels. It offers integrated packages encompassing a diverse array of services, coupled with the issuance of family and group tickets. Additionally, the system incorporates payment through smart devices and leverages artificial intelligence technologies, such as facial recognition. The system 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.

Integration of public transport modes and the payment systems

“In terms of electronic security, 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.

Upgrading of RTA nol card system in Dubai

“The system offers an array of features that provide considerable flexibility in refining operational processes and monitoring the performance of the system. It addresses the needs of public transport network operators in the emirate and supports RTA’s plans aiming to achieve the integration of public transport modes and the payment systems operated by the private sector.


“Anchored in RTA’s central wallet technology, the digital payment system is set to provide better data utilisation and analysis based on a myriad of data points, encompassing details like the origins and destinations of trips. This data will enhance research and development activities, facilitate expansion strategies and forecasting future trends, and assist the design of unique and innovative services,” explained Al Tayer.

History of RTA nol cards

It’s noteworthy that 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. In 2017, RTA 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 as part of plans to extend the reach of nol services within RTA’s comprehensive digital strategy.


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