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Some passengers who were travelling on the Sharjah-Dubai route said that they sat in those buses at random as they did not know about the new arrangement and the availability of the buses.
Mohammed K. V., who boarded the bus from the Sharjah City Centre stop, said that earlier he was travelling by sharing taxis that charged him Dh5 and took a longer route to reach the destination in Dubai.
"Though I didn't know about this service till, I am glad that the governments of Dubai and Sharjah have considered this option as we were having problem in travelling to and from Sharjah to Dubai," he said. Though only a handful of passengers had travelled since morning from the Sharjah City Centre stop, the Rolla Square bus stop witnessed a larger influx of passengers, which the drivers attributed to the prime location.
"The service needs a little more advertisement for it to take off. Since morning we have ferried only five to six passengers to Dubai from this stop," said a driver at the City Centre bus stop. Drivers at the Rolla Square claimed to have taken 10 to 15 passengers on each trip to Dubai since 6am, though hardly a few passengers were seen travelling by mid-afternoon.
Monitoring the response and the level of comfort provided to customers on the route was a Dubai Transport Corporation official, Madi Mohammed. Mr Madi said that he had been travelling since morning from the Rolla Square to Bur Dubai and was satisfied with the result. "Though passengers are few, they are happy and satisfied," he said.
Another passenger, Mohammed bin Mahmood Al Azraq, also said that this service came as a boon for travellers. Voicing their satisfaction, two other travellers from Rolla Square, Cleatus Antony and Davindar Kothari, said that Dubai Transport Corporation had done a great favour to them by introducing this service.
"Now we can travel to our destination without stopping anywhere in between. Besides, the buses are more comfortable than taxis where we have to squeeze ourselves," they said.
A couple, Mr and Mrs Dominique Fernandes, who were travelling to Bur Dubai, said that given the choice they would travel on Dubai Transport Corporation buses rather than shared taxis.
Commenting on the launch of the new service, Sultan Al Suwaidi, head of mass transport at the Dubai Transport Corporation told Khaleej Times: "This is only the first day, so people are still unaware of the service. We expect the number of passengers to pick up in the coming days.
The buses operate daily from 6 am to midnight with each bus departing from two stations in Sharjah every 10 to 15 minutes. It makes travelling to Dubai a lot more convenient, safe, hassle-free and cost-effective for the passengers who are bound for Dubai." Under this new service, each passenger can travel to Dubai at a nominal charge of Dh 5.
He added: "Dubai Transport is keen on providing quality service to passengers from Sharjah travelling to Dubai with its air-conditioned, modern and reliable bus transport being offered at affordable rates. The corporation has allocated a total of 70 buses for the new service with eight to 10 buses operating at each of the two stations located opposite the City Centre, as well as in Rolla Square in Sharjah." Mr Sultan was optimistic that the new service would match the success of the existing inter-emirate bus service from Dubai and Sharjah, which made 92,000 trips and carried 2.5 million passengers in 2003.
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