nol card: check-in, check-out

Here in the UAE, one of the benefits of working mothers is we’re entitled to 1 hour free time from work every day for 18 months after giving birth to breastfeed and spend more time with her baby (that’s if the baby was delivered here). For me, I opted to report to work 1 hour later than all the rest of my colleagues; which means I have to commute to the office because Hubby leaves for work really early in the morning. So, since I returned to work last November, I’ve been using the RTA public transportation. I take the bus until it stops at one of the metro stations, and then I take a taxi to my office.

Yesterday morning, I went on the bus as usual, had my NOL card scanned until the screen said I checked in, and settled myself in one of the seats. The bus went on its normal route without anything interesting happening. It stopped at one of its usual stops, and the passengers who were going to go down approached the scanning machines at the doors. Some of us were wondering why the doors at the middle and end of the bus weren’t opening, then we noticed an RTA officer at the front with his checking device. Even though some passengers were already going down, he still checked their cards before they scanned it to check out. The first few were ok, but then there was a man whose card registered that he hadn’t checked in. He tried to explain, but the RTA officer got the man’s ID and told him to wait outside. Then the cards of all of the remaining passengers on board the bus was checked. And then the card of a woman also registered that she hadn’t checked in, so she also had to go down and wait outside. She was explaining to the officer about something (in Arabic, which is why I couldn’t understand what she was saying), but he still asked her to depart. After that, the bus went on its way, leaving the woman behind.

This is why I always make sure the screen shows that I checked in. And I always wait until the bus completely stops before I scan my card to check-out. Many passengers check-out even though the bus is just approaching its next stop, and this may have been the case of the man on the bus. So, to avoid any problems with RTA (and to avoid paying a hefty fine of Dhs200), it’s better to have the card scanned just before departing the bus.

Update: I was mistaken when I said that the guy most probably had checked out early before the officer scanned his card. Because I tried it one time, and the officer didn’t stop me from going down. Maybe the guy didn’t have sufficient credit in his card when he boarded the bus, or he forgot to check-in. Anyway, this is just to clarify that checking out before having your NOL card scanned will not get you in trouble...just be sure that you’ll be departing from the bus at that stop.

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