Nol card mandatory for accessing Dubai public parks

Nol card mandatory for accessing Dubai public parks

Dubai - Those without Nol cards must purchase a Dh25 green Nol card from the counters that can cover a family or group of friends.


Sherouk Zakaria

Published: Mon 18 Dec 2017, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 20 Dec 2017, 9:46 AM

Visitors to public parks in Dubai will now have to own a Nol card to access the facilities, Khaleej Times has learned.

In collaboration with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Municipality earlier installed 70 smart gates in four public parks to allow residents to use Nol cards to pay the entry fees.

To enter Al Mamzar Park, Za'abeel Park, Mushrif Park and Creek Park, visitors will no longer purchase paper tickets, but will have to use their RTA's Nol card, smart system used in all public transport, to pay entry fees.

Those without Nol cards must purchase a Dh25 green Nol card from the counters that can cover a family or group of friends, or be used in public transport including bus, metro, taxi and water taxis. Cards can be recharged at the park's counters or Nol cards' vending machines to be placed on site next year.

Eng. Mohammed Abdul Rahman Al Awadhi, Director of Public Parks and Horticulture Department at Dubai Municipality, told Khaleej Times the key is to provide a smart integrated payment system to ease queues and reduce waiting time in public parks.

"People will no longer need human intervention to access parks. If they have a Nol card with balance, they can scan it on the smart gate and go in," said Al Awadhi. He noted special gates to accommodate people with determination are installed, while emphasizing free tickets for them and two companions.

Smart gates, first installed in Mushrif Park back in April, also allow people to use Smart Nol, an app that allows residents to use their mobile phones to check in and out of public transport modes.

Al Awadhi added, "Using cash at counters takes time per visitor, and since parks witness a huge rush on weekends, we wanted to introduce a structured system to reduce waiting time and provide better access to people."  

Since Nol cards are widely used among public transport users, Al Awadhi said it is already "a culture among the community that can be used for more than once facility to make people's lives easier".

Meanwhile, Khaled Al Awadhi, Director of the Automated Collection System at RTA, said the over 700,000 visitors used the smart gates since their installation in the four parks over the last eight months. Over 223,000 used smart gates to access Al Mamzar Park since its installation in September, while 192,277 accessed Creek Park's smart gates installed in October.

Al Awadhi said although people might take time to adjust to the new system, he urged the community to collaborate with entities. "As the country is moving forward to becoming smart, partnerships between different entities help offer new technologies to benefit the community, he added.  "Like anything that is newly introduced, it will take time for people to learn to use the technology."

The Nol Silver, Gold and Blue cards, as well as the special edition cards designed by RTA, can be used for paying park entrance fees. Fees for access to public parks will remain the same, said officials.

While some residents supported the new smart system, others despised having to pay a minimum of Dh25, instead of the typical Dh5, for a single entry.

Ahmed Dajani said paying Dh25 for an entry is "an extra toll especially if you already have a Nol card, but you're just not carrying it". He said he had to pay Dh25, instead of Dh5, to see a friend at Zaabeel Park for an hour, after leaving his Nol card at home to use a car.

Souad Hamed said buying a Dh25 Nol card is "impractical" for someone who doesn't normally use the metro or public transport or visit parks more often. "VAT will be added in the next few weeks, and people aren't ready to pay extra for facilities they could previously avail for as less as Dh5," said Hamed.

Meanwhile, Nida Khan said the new park systems is "much better" since it allows people who have no cash to use their Nol cards. "It also managed to reduce queues. When I used to come on Fridays, I used to wait at least 15 minutes to buy my ticket. Now I can scan my card and enter the park," said Khan.

Shazia Ahmed said having the option of buying a paper ticket will prevent people who are not frequent public transport users from paying extra. "Some people don't have jobs, and therefore, don't use public transport much. Therefore, having the option of paper tickets will serve certain segments," said Ahmed.

(With inputs from Saman Haziq)

Number of visitors using smart gates at different parks
Source: Khaled Al Awadhi, Director of the Automated Collection System at RTA

Launch date of Nol access system
No. of visitors

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