Dubai: Why these students can’t wait for the new Nol card

According to the RTA, the target is to roll out the new card from the beginning of the next academic year (September 2024)


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Sun 3 Mar 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 6 Mar 2024, 3:57 PM

UAE students welcomed the news of a Nol card that will not only offer up to 70 per cent discount at local retail outlets, but will also serve as an international student ID card.

Zayba Maryam, a student at Wollongong University in Dubai Media City, told Khaleej Times: “I have a student Nol card that I use going to the campus on school days. I love that I am getting 50 per cent off on public transport. It saves me a lot of money, but now I am glad the card is about to get even better.”

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) recently announced that a new Nol card would double up as an internationally accepted student ID card, providing access to thousands of services and discounts worldwide. Pupils can also enjoy up to 70 per cent discounts and promotional offers when purchasing items from Dubai retail outlets, including school and university canteens, that accept Nol cards as a mode of payment.

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“If the Nol card can get me discounts on the canteen at my university, I would be very happy,” said Zayba. “I eat at the food court most days so it would be good savings for me. Also, with discounts on retail shops, I think it would be very attractive to a lot of university students. And come on, who doesn't like a good discount?”

Zayba Maryam
Zayba Maryam

According to the RTA, the target is to roll out the new card from the new academic year (September 2024). Students can apply for the card through the Nol Pay app and have it delivered home. Users who already have a student Nol card can upgrade to the new one once it launches.

Getting more deals

Sisters Manha and Ilhaam, who are Grade 12 and 10 students at the Cambridge International School in Dubai, also have student metro cards which they use regularly when going out with friends. “We usually go to places that have metro connectivity, so we use our cards very often,” they said.

Ilhaam (left) and Manha
Ilhaam (left) and Manha

The sisters have earlier tried to use discounts on their metro cards but were unsuccessful. “We read that there was a discount on a popular ice rink here if you use the student metro card,” said Ilham. “But when we got there, we had missed the deal by a day. It was quite disappointing that the cut-off date was not mentioned on the website, but it did teach us to keep our eyes open for deals on our student cards.”

With the launch of the new discount scheme, Manha said she was most excited to hear more details. “I am actually keen to see what shops and restaurants would offer these discount,” she said. “There is a very high chance that these shops will become a firm favourite among the student crowds.”

Offering more convenience

For Dawood Jukaku, third year student at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), the student Nol card is something he has held on to even though he got his license recently. “As students, my friends and I use public transport a lot,” he said. “So having the student card handy is very convenient for me. Some days I drive but other days I take a combination of bus and metro from my house in Al Nahda to my university in Dubai Silicon Oasis.”

The 21-year-old hopes to take full advantage of the discounts that will be offered by the new student Nol card when it is rolled out. “I will get only one year with it because by then I will be in my final year, but I am definitely not going to say no to some good student discounts,” he said.

The student Nol cards are issued to those studying in schools and universities across the UAE between the ages of 5 and 23. It requires the applicant to furnish an official document proving that he or she is a current student.


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