RTA gears up for EXPO 2020 with new initiatives
The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority has been announcing a number of initiatives for its consumers. In September they announced the launch of Wi-Fi in RTA taxis, which are being rolled out, and online booking of RTA’s Hala taxis via the Careem app.
Later in September, Abdul Aziz Al Falahi, CEO of RTA’s corporate technology support services sector, was also reported to discuss the potential trial with Mastercard to “study the impact of accepting bank cards on the public transport riders.”
At GITEX Technology Week, RTA has now announced a number of initiatives that will be rolled out in the later part of next year, coinciding with the Expo 2020. They include:
With RTA taxis being powered with Wi-Fi, the customers will be able to set the location on the phones that are being installed in the taxis; thereby avoiding misunderstandings and longer routes. Through this, they will also know the fare they will be paying before the ride starts.
"When they use the free WiFi for browsing, they will also get some value-added services. They can set their destination, instead of describing to the driver where they want to go. We are using Google technology for this," Khalid Al Awadi, the director of transportation system at RTA, told Khaleej Times.
He added, "We are also integrating our services with Google for voice for translations, where 26 languages are available. This way, customers can speak with their driver in their language. The customer can also share their live location with their friends or family, so they can track them online.”
In addition, online payments will also be facilitated.
These will be part of the value-added services available on taxiconnected.ae which has been introduced in 1500 taxis so far, with a target of 10,000 taxis by the end of the year.
Virtual Nol Cards
Using the Near-field communication (NFC), travellers will be able to use their mobile phones to check-in and check out of metros. These virtual nol cards will also support remote top-ups via credit cards.
“RTA is planning to roll out the virtual nol card in the third quarter of 2020. Later on, all the existing Nol card functions will be added to the virtual card. Offering this initiative couldn’t have come at a better time as Dubai is heading towards the hosting of a big event, Expo 2020.Mohammed Al Khayat, Director of Automated Fare Collection at the authority
A senior RTA official commented, “It is part of a new package of solutions and applications in support of Nol card users enabling the commuters smooth payment of public transport fare as well as other payments such as parking fees, shopping at certain retail outlets, and the petrol station among others.”
More value-added services of the current physical nol cards will be added to the virtual card in time. The virtual nol card is part of Digital Nol Strategy 2018-2022 which aims to achieve “smart transformation of payment means” and supporting the government’s objectives for a smart city.