Nol Card 101 — How to Pay for Dubai Metro, Tram, Bus and Water Bus Fares

Nol Card 101 — How to Pay for Dubai Metro, Tram, Bus and Water Bus Fares

Whether you’re a resident or a tourist in Dubai, you’ll find Dubai’s public transport service felicitous. Whichever of the Metro, the Tram, the Bus or the Water Bus you’re using, the Nol card is requisite. It is the accepted payment method for the aforementioned services. You can also use the smart card to pay for RTA’s Paid Parking. Let’s expatiate on the Nol card.

The Nol Card

The Nol card, to reiterate, can be used to make the payment of Dubai’s Metro, Tram, Bus, Water buses, and Parking. It automatically calculates and deducts the correct cost of your trip. It also supports transfers across different modes of transport.

The card contains a tamper-proof chip and an antenna. Both the card and the reader communicate through radio waves. They ensure secure, fast and reliable transactions. The card is carefully designed to prevent fraudulent use and ensure the fares are calculated correctly every time.

Nol Card Details

  Silver Nol Card Nol Gold Card Nol Blue Card Nol Red Ticket
Coverage Metro, Bus, Water Bus, Parking Metro, Bus, Water Bus, Parking Metro, Bus, Water Bus, Parking Bus, Metro & Water Bus
E-purse? Yes Yes Yes No
Where to get Ticket officesSome ticket vending machinesRTA Customer Service CentresAuthorised sales agents Metro ticket offices Ticket offices Online Ticket officesTicket vending machines
Required documents None None Photo & National ID None
Price AED 25 (has AED19 e-purse value) AED 25 (has AED19 e-purse value) AED 70 (has AED 20 e-purse value) AED 2 (boasts a minimum of 1 trip)
Is activation required? No No Yes, at any ticket office No
Duration 5 years 5 years 5 years 90 days or 10 trips
Where to top up Ticket offices, Ticket vending machines, Authorized sales agents, RTA Customer Service Centers, Online Ticket offices, Ticket vending machines, Authorized sales agents, RTA Customer Service Centers, Online Ticket offices, Ticket vending machines, Authorized sales agents, RTA Customer Service Centers, Online Ticket vending machines

The Nol Silver Card

The Nol Silver Card is a type of Nol Card that’s anonymous and has AED 5000 e-purse capacity. It costs AED 25, comes with AED 19 e-purse value and is valid for five years. You can use it for all the public modes of transportation in Dubai.

This card is best for you if you’re a tourist or a resident who’d be traveling on the regular cabin, or carriage (not in first/Gold class) and if you’d be in Dubai for five years or would frequent it in this time.

The Nol Gold Card

The Nol Gold Card has exactly the same features as the Nol Silver Card, except that it lends you access onto the Dubai Metro’s Gold Class at an exclusive or a premium charge.

This card is best for you if you’re a tourist or a resident who’d like to travel regularly or sometimes in the Metro’s Gold Class, for elevated experience.

The Nol Blue Card

The Nol Blue Card is a type of Nol Card that’s personalized. It has AED 5000 e-purse capacity and is acceptable for all modes of transportation in Dubai including RTA paid parking. With the Blue card, your card balance is secure if your card gets lost or stolen. It also allows of a variety of secure & personalized online services and the receipt of SMS & email notifications. The card costs AED 70, has AED 20 e-purse value and lasts for five years.

If you’re a student, a senior citizen, or are a person with disability, this card is your best fit as it lets you enjoy special fares for different concession types of Nol blue card. Specifically, students of 5 – 23 years and senior citizens who’re UAE Nationals and Residents get 50% discount on their fares. People with permanent disability get free trips.

Further, if you’re a resident in Dubai and you’d be loading your card with huge amounts of money/credit, then the Nol Blue Card is your best fit.

The Nol Blue Card might be said to have two types, the Regular Nol Blue Card and the concession card. While the same process is followed in applying for these two, their requirements are slightly different.

The Process of Getting A Nol Blue Card Online

  1. First, apply online.
  2. You will receive an SMS and e-mail notification with your application details.
  3. Once your application is approved/rejected, you will receive an SMS notification.
  4. Your Nol Blue Card will be delivered to you by the courier company. You should receive your card within 4 working days days, for any delays, please contact RTA Customer Service at 800 90 90.

The needed requirements are:

  1. A personal photo (jpg/jpeg format in less than 50KB)
  2. A payment card such as the credit/debit card (Visa/MasterCard/Amex), e-Dirham.
  3. An identity card issued by Emirates Identity Authority (jpg/jpeg format in less than 20MB).

Note: If you’re applying for the Regular Nol Blue Card, all you need to provide is only the National ID. But if you’re applying for a concession card (Student/Disabled/Senior Citizen), you need to attach the required document as mentioned below:

  • Student Card: kindly attach your National ID and a stamped letter from your (School/College/University) with following details(Name of Student, Student ID No, Education Level, Academic Year).
  • Disabled Card: kindly attach your National ID and copy of Permanent Disability Card issued from the authorized entity.
  • Senior Citizen: kindly attach your National ID only.

Note also: Children below the age of five and the height of 90cm get free trips without a card

Tip: If you’re using the Nol Silver or Gold Card, you may not load your card with a large amount so that should you lose it, you wouldn’t lose much.

The Nol Red Ticket

The Nol Red Ticket enables you to pay for single one-way trips. It’s paper-based ticket that can be bought from any ticket vending machine at any time for only AED 2. It is loaded based on how many trips it can be used for and takes the maximum of only 10 trips. Further, it can only be used on one mode or transport at a time; say, Metro only or Bus only. Finally here, you use it to pay for an exact trip only.

This ticket is good for tourists who do not frequent Dubai or have only one day to spend in the city. It is ideal to pay a Water-Bus-trip fare which is AED 2 — a one-way trip. You can get the Nol Red Ticket at any Marine ticket office located at Water Bus stations.

Nol Red Ticket Fares

Type NOL Red Ticket (Regular) 
NOL Red Ticket (Gold) 
Within one zone 4 8
Two adjacent zones 6 12
More than two zones 8.50 17

How Do I Use The Nol Card?

It is quite easy to use the Nol card. All you need do is place your card on the card reader at either the entrance or exit gates of the Metro or Water Bus stations; the entrance of every RTA (Dubai’s public) Bus and on all RTA parking meters. This process has been dubbed “Touch and Go”.

How Do I Check In?

  1. Ensure you have a minimum balance of AED 7.50 on your card.
  2. Approach the gates of Metro or the entrances of Bus / Water Bus.
  3. Place your Nol Card on the card reader.
  4. Wait to hear a beep or look for the green light which signals a successful check-in.
  5. Pass through the gate/entrance.

In most cases, you will not need to remove your Nol card from your wallet to check in. Other cards in your wallet will remain unaffected by your Nol card. Although, you will fail to check in if you have more than one Nol card in your wallet.

How Do I Check Out?

  1. Approach the exit gates of Metro or the exit doors of Bus/Water Bus.
  2. Place your Nol Card on the card reader.
  3. Wait to hear a beep or look for the green light which signals a successful check-out.
  4. Pass through the exit gate/entrance.
  5. At this point, the gate will automatically calculate and the cost of your trip (based on the number of zones you have passed) and the remaining balance of your card.

It is important to check out. This enables the Nol card to calculate your correct fare. When you check-out, the card reader will show you the remaining balance on your Nol card. If you don’t check-out, your Nol card will always deduct the maximum fare. You’d, in other words, be overcharged.

Note: If you think the public transport operator charged you incorrectly, you can file a complaint online at Nol e-Services. Alternatively, you can file a claim by calling the RTA Customer Service at 800 90 90 or visit any of the ticket offices.

How Is My Fare Calculated?

You’re charged based on the number of zones you travel. And Dubai has seven zones. Below is a table of exactly how you’re charged.

Zones Fares (AED)      
Silver Card Gold Card Personal Card  Red Ticket
Within one zone 3 6 3 4
Two adjacent zones 5 10 5 6
More than one zones 7.5 15 7.5 8.5

Transfer Rules

Your journey can be made using different modes of transport which are located in different zones. This process is referred to as “transferring”. You can make transfers across the Bus and the Metro.

The following table shows the transfers that are allowed. The interpretation of the Dubai transfer table is that:
Second column (Within one zone): You can transfer 3 times and not more than that within one zone and this should be done within 180 minutes (3 hours).
Third column (Two adjacent zones): You can transfer within two zones that are next to each other 3 times within 180 minutes (3 hours).
Fourth column (More than two zones): Lastly, you can transfer in as many zones as you can 3 times within 3 hours or 180 minutes.

Within 1 Zone 2 AdjacentZones More than2 Zones
Max Journey Duration 180 mins 180 mins 180 mins
Max Transfers Allowed 3 3 3

Note: Transferring across two modes of transport must be within 30 minutes. Do not neglect to check out of the mode of transport you’re transferring from and do not neglect to check in to the mode you’re transferring to. All you have to do for your journey to be regarded as one is to transfer successfully within 30 minutes.

The fares for the Dubai metro, tram and bus are billed the same way. Each is billed based on the number of zones you traveled (covered) on your journey. In other words, you’re billed on the basis of how many zones you traveled on your journey.

Do’s and Don’ts of the Nol Card


  1. Keep your Nol Card in a protective pouch.
  2. Ensure to check-out to avoid getting over-charged.
  3. If your Nol Card is rejected at a reader, wait until the indicator light stops flashing, then try again.
  4. Ensure your Nol Blue Card is not used by anyone other than you.
  5. If you lose your Nol Blue Card, call the RTA Customer Service at 800 90 90 to report the loss immediately.
  6. Avoid penalties on Bus by paying attention to the Bus Penalty Rules.
  7. Avoid penalties on Metro by paying attention to the Metro Penalty Rules.


  1. Don’t hold more than one Nol card over a reader at one time.
  2. Don’t hold your Nol card too quickly over a reader, which can lead to an incomplete transaction; in such cases, re-place the same Nol card on the card reader again as required until the transaction is completed.
  3. Don’t bend, write on, scratch, tap, cut or paste stickers or photos on your Nol card.
  4. Don’t put your Nol card in your back pocket, as the microchip on the card can be damaged when you sit down.
  5. Don’t allow another person to use your Nol Blue card.


With the foregoing, all you need to know about using Dubai’s public-transport-fare payment method, the Nol card, is sorted. If you want an in-depth knowledge of Dubai’s public transportation routes, kindly click here; And for the Nol card’s terms of service click here. Travel with ease!

References: 2 3 4 5 & 6