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UAE: Public transport bounces back from Covid-19, remains the preferred mode of transport

James Jose /Dubai
james@khaleejtimes.com Filed on September 11, 2021
File photo

Dubai saw its highest daily public transport ridership since the start of the pandemic, with more than 1.3 million passengers recorded on Thursday

On the day the Dubai Metro celebrated its 12th anniversary, another milestone reinforced people’s faith in the emirate’s public transportation system.

Listen to this story and more on the 8@8 with David Light podcast

Dubai saw its highest daily public transport ridership since the start of the pandemic, with more than 1.3 million passengers recorded on Thursday across various means of transport.

The numbers speak for themselves — public transport continues to be the preferred mode of transport even during a pandemic.

Anjali Nair, an international student from New Delhi, India, said she fell in love with Dubai’s transportation system ever since she set foot in the city last year.

“I love taking the Metro because it helps me reach destination on time, saves a lot of money and it’s clean, which should be a priority given the present situation,” she said.

Dubai Metro stands out

Anjali added that the Dubai Metro contributed to changing her perception about public transport.

“I have travelled around and used metro stations across India, but Dubai’s Metro is way cleaner, faster and more organised,” she said.

Though the public transport sector might find it challenging to implement social distancing guidelines, Anjali said the UAE authorities have pulled it off.

“They have made sure that the Covid protocol is mandated and followed in the public transport even during peak working hours,” she said.

Apprehensive at first

Algerian expat Rayane Tchanchane, a mechanical engineer, was apprehensive about using public transport at the height of the pandemic.

“I was applying for jobs, but I had to stop using public transport during the pandemic. I faced a lot of difficulties because of that as I would get called for job interviews,” Rayane said.

Though she was hesitant, the 21-year-old mustered up the confidence to start using the Metro again.

“When I saw how Dubai Metro staff members sanitised and made sure that all common areas were cleaned, I started using it again regularly. It is still my preferred mode of moving around Dubai because of its efficiency and timely service,” she said.

Fewer accidents on the road

Road safety expert Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of RoadSafetyUAE, said he was delighted to hear about the increase in use of public transport, as it meant fewer vehicles on the road and fewer accidents.

“It is amazing to take vehicles off the roads, mainly private cars, and we need to think about how many people fit into one Metro train or into one bus. This means a lot of vehicles can be taken off the road,” Edelmann told Khaleej Times.

Edelmann also said the use of school buses, carpooling, micro mobility and incentive schemes could take more vehicles off the road.

“But more needs to be done, especially with regards to the feeder system and with regards to creating incentive schemes to further use public transportation, especially in school zones,” he said.

Don’t let your guard down

Dr Nazeeya K A, general practitioner at Aster Clinic, Al Qusais, said people should continue following safety protocols while using public transport.

“Most people have been vaccinated against Covid in the UAE, which is the key reason why infection has reduced and people have gained confidence. Though we are all now slowly starting to enjoy this freedom after a long time, we should still be very cautious, especially when it comes to using public transport,” Dr Nazeeya said.

She added that all riders must obey the protocols in place, which include wearing face masks properly, maintaining social distance, sanitising hands and avoiding the use of public transport in case of symptoms such as fever, cold, cough or body pain.

According to the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Metro served 458,060 passengers on Thursday, which included 311,090 passengers on its red line and 146,970 on its green line, while 15,932 passengers used the tram.

Public buses saw 254,420 passengers, while 21,502 used marine modes of transport and 66,590 passengers used e-hailing and car sharing services. Thursday also saw a total of 516,409 taxi passengers.

james@khaleejtimes.com

James Jose





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