Public buses fail to meet commuters’ expectations

DUBAI— Despite the RTA’s best attempts to improve public transport, things do not appear to be very good for the everyday commuters of public buses.

by Dhanusha Gokulan

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Published: Tue 5 Aug 2008, 2:08 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:00 PM

Bus commuters can be seen standing at bus stands for hours together, both while coming and going to work and home, in the sweltering heat. The very slow services provided by the bus has made using public transport very difficult for the people.

“ Even with the introduction of new buses, the RTA has not been able to meet the need of the bus users, we also do not have the correct information regarding bus timings and where we can avail one from, quoted Rajesh who has been using the bus from Karama to Sharjah and back. “Thursdays are the most difficult day for a commuter, because it’s the end of the week and buses come in only once in 45 minutes, and most of the time its full, so we end up going back standing in the bus,” said Chris, who takes his bus from Ghubaiba to Sharjah.

The buses from Sharjah to Dubai can be availed from Al Jubail Bus Station, which is near the Rolla fish market, whereas the buses from Dubai to Sharjah move from Deira, Satwa, Karama and the Al Ghubaiba bus stand in Bur Dubai.

According to Mohammed Ibrahim, the Supervisor and Chief of Station of the Al Jubail Bus stand in Rolla, Sharjah said, “There are approximately 9,000 people who travel from Sharjah to Dubai on a daily basis, and the most busy hours are from 6.30am to 8.30am. We operate 24 hours, starting from 4.30am. The buses from Al Jubail station move from Sharjah, to Karama, Deira, Bur Dubai, Satwa and Jebel Ali among many other places.”

An RTA official informed us that the buses from Dubai to Sharjah are available at various points and it might be because of lack of correct information among the public that people crowd at the more popular bus stations, including Al Ghubaiba and Karama.

When contacted for comment, officials of the Public Transport Agency at the RTA said that the current fleet of Inter-City buses were being increased.

"At present, there are more than 154 buses travelling to other emirates like Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Al Ain, etc. Around 125 more buses, including Double Deckers will be added to this fleet. From September, there will be around 15 double deckers running on the Dubai-Sharjah route alone. With the number of buses being increased, the waiting time of passengers will come down," an official of the PTA said.

Problems faced by travellers are common

ON speaking to three commuters who travel on a routine basis, we found that most of the problems faced by the travellers are common.

Christopher Brooks, who works in Karama, has been using the bus for over nine months and says, “ I spend at least six hours on an average only travelling. One of my worst experiences while using the bus was, when I had to get to an important meeting, I reached an hour late because the driver was really slow, now it is a lot better because it’s the summer and the traffic is relatively less, but otherwise, the situation is very bad. There are some men who push their friends who come in late, ahead of the line and the guys who have been waiting longer don't get their bus.”

Carlton D’souza, who is a junior accountant working at Bur Dubai, says,“It’s like the survival of the fastest, if you are 10 minutes late to the stand, there are almost 10 people in front of you. You stand in the sweltering heat and the service is extremely slow, a lot of time is wasted ticketing and the drivers are very slow. There should be a separate lane for only public transport on the roads and since there are so many people using the buses now, they should increase the counts of the bigger buses because they accommodate more people than the mini buses.”

Anjali Nandkumar, who has been working in Dubai for a month now, says, “ It’s not that bad for the women as it is for the men, but the wait is quite tiring. I used to take my bus from Karama to Sharjah, and on Thursdays it was the worst because the lines were very long. I spend two hours only waiting for a bus to come along. In the bus stands there are no rest room facilities and the queue for the bus towards Sharjah does not have a shade neither does it have any seating facilities. After 6.30pm waiting for a bus in any of the bus stands is dreadful, because you just don’t get a bus soon.”

Dhanusha Gokulan
Dhanusha Gokulan

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