Dubai’s card-based ticketing system, Nol, will be upgraded to an account-based system using core wallet technology. The project requires an investment of Dh350 million and uses artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, such as facial recognition. It was not immediately clear how the facial recognition feature would be implemented.
Currently, the system requires users to have a physical or digital card. The new project provides a digital payment system that leverages a centralized transportation fare wallet technology. A digital wallet is an online service used to make payments electronically or store electronic tickets or documents.
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According to the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), it ensures seamless integration between modes of transport in Dubai. The advantages of the new system include an extensive update of the technology used in payment systems; improvements in operational aspects; and provide personalized services and products.
“The new system has several innovative features, such as support for travel planning, booking and prepayment through smart channels. It offers integrated packages covering a wide range of services, along with family and group ticketing,” said Mattar Al Tayer, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA.
The system provides direct access to information such as account balances, trip history, prices and fare calculations. It allows users to manage their accounts and handle issues related to lost cards, among other features.
“In terms of electronic security, the new system links all issued cards with individual customer accounts, as well as with accounts of companies and multi-user entities. This integration improves the security of personal and customer data, ensuring privacy protection,” said Al Tayer. “The system offers a variety of features that provide considerable flexibility to refine operational processes and monitor system performance.”
Mattar Al Tayer
The digital payment system is set to provide better data utilization and analysis based on details such as trip origins and destinations.
Since its inception in 2009, the RTA has issued more than 30 million Nol cards. In 2023, average daily card usage reached about 2.5 million payment transactions worth Dh2 billion.
Nol cards have facilitated the mobility of public transport users and the payment of public parking fees throughout the emirate. In 2017, the card’s functionalities were enhanced to cover payment services at retail outlets and cover entry fees to various public and private establishments in Dubai.
Al Tayer said the upgrade is a “crucial step in embracing rapid global advancements in digital payment solutions and financial technology.”
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