Passengers in Dubai are angry at being forced to buy e-cards to use buses as many drivers now refuse to accept cash for the fare.
When contacted, a spokesperson of the Public Transport Agency (PTA) at the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) confirmed the introduction of the new 'e-bus' cards. He said the Agency had first introduced the new 'e-bus' card on March 25 this year on a few routes.
"Now buses operating on at least 25 routes in Dubai accept 'e-bus' cards only and there is no option to pay by cash," he said. The new fare payment system would be implemented on all the routes gradually.
The RTA spokesperson said that the e-bus card is worth Dhs20 but is sold at Dhs18 and is valid for 10 trips. He said the existing 'e-go' cards, which were being used by commuters in buses would also no longer be valid after May 31 because they have been replaced with the new 'e-bus' cards.
The 'e-bus' card is part of the RTA's initiative to introduce Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) system to minimise handling of cash by bus drivers. The new cards are sold at the bus stations and are also available with bus drivers.