Dubai mulling more special bus-only lanes

Angel Tesorero/Dubai
Filed on June 18, 2018 | Last updated on June 18, 2018 at 10.05 pm
The plan is similar to the transitway in major urban centres that is designed to improve the capacity and reliability. — File photo
The plan is similar to the transitway in major urban centres that is designed to improve the capacity and reliability. - File photo

Residents who drive to work welcomed the plan.

 The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is studying the possibility of introducing dedicated bus lanes across Dubai to reduce commute time and traffic congestion, and encourage more people to take public transport, senior RTA officials confirmed to Khaleej Times on Monday.

"The RTA continuously looks at enhancing its bus services whilst considering various factors, which include on time performance (ensuring timely arrival of buses at various bus stops) and optimising the efficiency of the bus network and reducing operational cost," an RTA spokesperson has said.

"To achieve this, we are studying and reviewing our bus network as well as selected roads located at high population density areas and congested spots in Dubai," the official added.

"Currently, we have dedicated 'bus and taxi lanes' across Dubai in areas of Khalid Bin Al Waleed, Naif, Al Khaleej, Mankhool and Al Mamzar while our 'Intercity Bus Service network is operated through major highways which include Sheikh Zayed Road, Emirates Road, Ittihad Road and Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Road.

"By 2019, we plan to construct 32km of bus lanes in Al Mankhool, Al Rashid, Amman Street and Khalid Bin Al Waleed," the RTA official revealed.

The plan is similar to the bus rapid transit (BRT) or transitway in other major urban centres that is designed to improve the capacity and reliability relative to a conventional bus route system.

Commuters welcome

Residents who drive to work welcomed the plan. Dubai resident Andrei Avila, who has been working as a logistics manager in Jebel Ali for 10 years, said he "will definitely ditch his car and take the bus if it will take him straight from his house in Satwa to his work in Jebel Ali".

"As of now, the only public transport option involves me taking at least three buses and two metro rides to my work. First, from my home, I need to take a feeder bus to Jafiliya Metro Station, then I take the Metro up to the JLT station. Because of the ongoing construction, I need to take another free bus to Ibn Batuta station then another Metro ride to UAE Exchange and afterwards, another feeder bus to my work place," Avila explained.

"Buses compete with other cars during peak hours so they are also stuck in heavy traffic. But if there will be dedicated bus lanes, it will really encourage more people like me to take the bus because it will mean less time to commute and will also save us some petrol money," Avila added.

Another Dubai resident, Filipino expat Chris Edralin, added: "Dedicated bus lanes would also mean fewer stops and that is a big attraction for people to take public transport."

Dedicated bus lanes also mean improving road safety, according to Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of RoadSafetyUAE. "It will mean smooth traffic and invite more people to take the public transport. The only disadvantage is that it will mean additional toll on road infrastructure as private motorists will lose one lane. Initially, it will be a burden to private motorists but in the long run it will be beneficial for all," he said.

"I believe the RTA is still discussing the plan and it could either be round-the-clock dedicated bus lane or implemented only during peak hours," Edelmann added.

Dedicated bus and taxi lanes

>Khalid Bin Al Waleed


>Al Khaleej


Proposed lanes by 2019

> Al Mankhool

> Al Rashid

> Amman Street

> Khalid Bin Al Waleed

* extensions included


Better, faster connectivity

With the use of public transportation bringing in environmental and economic benefits by enhancing energy efficiency, the stress on it is even more among countries looking for sustainable development. Also, public transport is the easiest way to get around a city, and the latest initiative by RTA is a step in the right direction. However, the authorities should ensure better and faster connectivity so that more people will be encouraged to use this mode of transport.

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