Dubai Metro traini leaving a station

Dubai Nol Card: Everything tourists need to know paying for Dubai’s public transport & more!

by Dubai Travel Planner

New to Dubai and looking to navigate the NOL card system for public transport?

You’ve come to the right place as we’re going to talk you through everything you need to know so you can hit the ground running when you reach Dubai.

If you intend on using public transport in Dubai, you will need a Nol card. Nol in Arabic means fare.

Nol or a Nol card is a rechargeable chip card. You need a Nol to travel on Dubai’s RTA (Roads and Transport Authority) Metro, buses, taxis and trams. It can also be used for many other services in Dubai including public park entry, parking meters, museums, and even paying for groceries!

There are several Nol card choices though which we know can be confusing for newcomers. We’re going to talk you through all your Nol card options, zones and what you should expect to pay, essential for getting around in Dubai.

What Types of Nol Card are there?

Nol cards come in:

  • Red Nol ticket
  • Silver Nol Card
  • Gold Nol Card
  • Blue Nol Card

Who needs a Nol Card?

All passengers aged 5 years and over need a Nol to use public transport in Dubai.

The only exemption in Dubai is “People of Determination”- the name given locally to people with disabilities who can use public transport for free.

How much is a Nol card in Dubai?

This depends on what colour card you initially buy.  A Silver Nol, for example, costs 25 AED ($6.80), of which 6 AED is for the card and 19 AED is a credit on your card whereas a Red Nol only costs 2 AED but has no pre-loaded credit – more below!

How much does each Metro trip in Dubai cost?

The tariff you pay per trip depends on which card type you are using and zones travelled.

Dubai Metro Zones

Dubai is divided into seven zones, which determines the rate that will be taken from your Nol Card. These zones apply for travelling by Metro & Dubai Tram. To keep it easy there are only 3 rates.

  • Tier 1 / 1 Zone: travel within 1 zone or less than 3 km, crossing two zones
  • Tier 2 / 2 Zones: starts in one zone and ends in a neighbouring zone
  • Tier 3 / 3+ Zones: crosses three or more zones
Dubai Metro Map
Dubai Metro and Tram map courtesy of RTA. NB Zones 3, 4 & 7 relate to the bus network nor shown on this map

How can I get a Nol card in Dubai?

There are several different ways you can purchase your Nol card.

  • You can purchase from ticket offices located in all Dubai Metro stations and some Dubai Bus stations.
  • Dubai’s Nol Silver Cards and Nol Red Tickets can be purchased from some Ticket Vending Machines.
  • You can also purchase Nol Silver Cards in Dubai from RTA Customer Service Centres and RTA authorised sales agents.
  • Nol blue cards can be purchased online.

Which Nol Card suits my needs best?

So with the option of four different Nol cards, which one is best for tourists?

Most tourists will opt for Red or Silver Nol cards – here’s what you need to know.

Nol Red Ticket

The Nol Red Ticket is a paper-based (card) ticket that can be purchased from any ticket vending machine at any time for only AED 2. It is best for occasional users of the Dubai Metro, including tourists.

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You will then need to load credit onto your Red Nol Ticket. It can be loaded with up to 10 Single Trips or 5 day passes.

Nol Red Ticket key features

  • Low ticket price – only 2 AED upfront ($0.54 USD)
  • The minimum balance to recharge is 7.50 AED
  • Valid for 90 days
  • Can be bought from any ticket vending machine at any time
  • Allows you to pay for the exact trip only

Example costs with a Red Nol Ticket

You will need to load these amounts on to your card prior to using the Metro

  • 1-day regular pass 20 AED (for use on one type of transport only)
  • 1 day pass gold pass 40 AED
  • 1 zone 4 AED
  • 2 zones 6 AED
  • 3+ zones 8.50 AED

Silver Nol Card

The Nol Silver Card is the perfect Nol starter card for regular use with an e-purse that can be loaded with up to AED 1000.

The Silver Nol Card costs 25 AED upfront, which includes 19 AED e-purse value and the ticket holder is anonymous, ie you don’t need to register your card.

Silver Nol Card key features:

  • Automatically calculates the cost of your trip and deduct it from your e-purse
  • Valid on all modes of transport
  • Maximum journey duration 180 minutes
  • The minimum balance is 7.50 AED
  • Valid for 5 years

Example fares for the Silver Nol Card

Although the Silver Nol is 4 AED more than the Red Nol Ticket, you get cheaper fares on the Silver card. You can only travel in regular class:

  • 1 zone 3 AED
  • 2 zones 6 AED
  • 3+ zones 7.50 AED

Nol Gold Card

The Nol Gold Card allows the holder to travel in luxury and comfort and is an anonymous card with the same features as the Silver Card, but with the added benefit that it gives you privileged access to the Dubai Metro’s Gold Class seats for a premium fare.

The Gold Nol Card costs 25 AED upfront, which includes 19 AED e-purse value.

Gold Nol Card key features:

  • Access to Gold Class cabins on the Metro & Tram
  • Maximum journey duration 180 minutes
  • Automatically calculates the cost of your trip and deduct it from your e-purse
  • Valid on all modes of transport (premium seating only on Metro & Tram)
  • Valid for 5 years

Example fares on a Gold Nol Card

  • 1 zone 6 AED
  • 2 zones 10 AED
  • 3+ zones 15 AED

Nol Blue Card

The Nol Blue Card is a secure personalized Nol smart card – it is the best for daily commuters. You can use the Blue Nol card on all types of public transport that are part of the Nol Card scheme.

The major difference between Blue and Silver is that Blue Nol cardholders can enjoy a secure card balance if their card gets lost or stolen.

The Blue Nol Card costs 70 AED upfront, which includes 20 AED e-purse value. You can load your registered Blue Nol Card with up to 5000 AED in value.

Blue Nol Card key features

  • Automatically calculates the cost of your trip and deduct it from your e-purse
  • Valid on all modes of transport
  • Secure card balance if your card gets lost/stolen
  • Personalized with a photo
  • Variety of secure online services, as well as SMS & email notifications to keep you posted
  • Valid for 5 years
  • If you are Students, Senior Citizen or social welfare holders pay 50% of the fare
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The fares are the same as you’d pay for a gold or silver card but with the added benefit your balance is secure. You can top up larger sums at once without fear of losing your balance.

Nol Fares Compares by Nol card

 
1 zone 4 AED3 AED6 AED3 AED
2 zones6 AED5 AED10 AED5 AED
More than 2 zones8.5 AED7.5 AED15 AED7.5 AED
Upfront cost2 AED25 AED (19 AED e-purse)25 AED (19 AED e-purse)70 AED (20 AED e-purse)

Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly and Annual passes with Nol Card

In additon to the single use fares above, regular Dubai Metro uses can pay upfront fro the following fares:

7-Day regular pass

  • 1 zone 50 AED
  • 2 Zones 80 AED
  • 3+ Zones 110 AED

7-Day Gold pass

  • 1 zone 100 AED
  • 2 Zones 160 AED
  • 3+ Zones 220 AED

30-Day regular pass

  • 1 zone 140 AED
  • 2 Zones 230 AED
  • 3+ Zones 350 AED

30-Day Gold pass

  • 1 zone 280 AED
  • 2 Zones 460 AED
  • 3+ Zones 700 AED

90-Day regular pass

  • 1 zone 330 AED
  • 2 Zones 550 AED
  • 3+ Zones 830 AED

90-Day Gold pass

  • 1 zone 660AED
  • 2 Zones 1100AED
  • 3+ Zones 1660AED

365-day regular pass

  • 1 zone 1060 AED
  • 2 Zones 1770AED
  • 3+ Zones 2670AED

365-day Gold pass

  • 1 zone 2120 AED
  • 2 Zones 3540 AED
  • 3+ Zones 5340 AED

How to use the Nol Card

So now you’ve sorted out what type of car you need, how does it actually work?

  • Make sure you have more than 7.50 AED on your car before you use it
  • Place your Nol card on the e-reader to “check-in”
  • Wait for the beep or green light to know you’re successful and pass through the gate/entrance
  • On leaving the public transport you need to check out to ensure the correct fare is applied
  • Place your card on the e-reader and wait for the beep or green light than pass through the gate

Other frequently asked Dubai Nol Card questions

How to check my Nol card balance?

You can top up your Nol card at Nol recharge stations found all over the city, as well as online via the RTA website or with s’hail app.

How much credit do I need on my Nol card?

Dubai Metro Fares are calculated not only on zones but the type of ticket you are using. Use the price guidelines above and keep a minimum balance of 7.50 AED on your card

Do I need a Nol card if I will only be using taxis in Dubai?

Whilst a Nol card can be used to pay for taxis in Dubai, taxis still accept cash and card payments other than Nol. If taxis are the only transport you will use in Dubai there’s no need to go out of your way to get a Nol card unless you’d like one for paying for park entry, shops and other handy features.

Can I get a refund on my unused Nol card balance?

The only card that allows you to apply for a refund is a Blue Nol card. It is wise if you plan on using any of the other cards to only top up to the amount you think you’ll need to use.

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Can I get a Blue Nol card as a tourist?

You don’t have to be a resident to benefit from the registered Blue Nol card. If you are a frequent Dubai visitor or think you’ll be heavily using the card during your trip to Dubai then it would make sense to go to the extra effort of having a Blue Nol card registered, though be mindful you’d need an address to collect it from.

Can I use Gold Class Metro cabins with a Red Nol ticket?


Use you can use your Red Nol Ticket to pay as you go for use on regular or Gold, just make sure you top up the right amount and bear in mind Gold tickets cost more on a Red Nol Ticket than if you outright buy a Gold Nol Card.

Which Nol do I need to use the women & children’s cabin on Dubai Metro?


You can use your Red, Silver or Gold Nol card for the women’s and children’s cabin on the Metro, it is the same price as other regular pass cabins just designated for families only. It is clearly marked with pink lines at one end of the train (front or rear depending on which way the train is going). The only cabin that needs a different fare is Gold.

What shops allow me to use a Nol card?

There are now over 2000 outlets in Dubai that allow tap and pay with Nol card, you can find them listed here.

Where can I learn more about Dubai Metro?


The best place to start is the RTA website, or telephone queries (within the UAE) to 800 90 90

Does Nol also work in Abu Dhabi?


You can use the Nol card to pay your fare on the Intercity buses that run from Dubai to Abu Dhabi). You cannot, however, use your Nol on Abu Dhabi’s public transport system, you would need a Hafialt Smart Card – learn more here.

We hope this Nol Card guide will help you navigate your way across Dubai. It is a big sprawling city but using the Metro can really help tourists get between the key attractions, and compared to other worldwide public transport systems, it is relatively low cost, clean and easy to use.

Fares correct as at last update January 2021. Please confirm pricing before purchasing with the RTA directly.


Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai


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Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE and transit passengers self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our recommendation links.

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2 comments

George Mbome Ateke June 8, 2022 - 8:58 pm

Greetings, please I wish to enquire if a tourist on a tourist Visa are obligated to pay fines levied on nol bus card upon exiting the UAE, thanks

Reply
Dubai Travel Planner June 10, 2022 - 1:12 pm

I’m afraid we don’t know the exact answer to this. If you were fined in person and they took any form of ID from you then you could run into serious trouble when leaving the country, no matter how small the amount they take unpaid debts very seriously here in the UAE.

Reply

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