Why Dubai's public transport services are the best in class

The Metro has almost single-handedly transformed the way the city commutes today

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Published: Thu 23 Feb 2023, 6:03 PM

Taking to Twitter, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council, thanked the city’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) “for delivering the world’s best mass transit services”. This is particularly significant because there used to be a time when one of the usual questions Dubai expats used to be asked when they went home on vacations used to be “How do you travel around in Dubai if you don’t drive a car?” Anyone who came to the emirate had to contend with the likelihood of owning a car, and driving.

All that is a thing of the past. Today, 2 million residents and visitors use public transport — and the number is going up every single day. People proudly declare that they don’t have the need to be car-owners, because public transport is so enabling. Take taxis. Earlier, they would, at peak times and in certain areas, be hard to come by. Between 1995 and 2019, here is what happened: from 81 vehicles and 886 drivers, it went up to 5,201 vehicles to 11,500 drivers. Today, the 24-hour fleet is even stronger, with the number of (the more environmental-friendly) hybrid taxis multiplying.

Dubai Metro — which most tourists who visit the city say is possibly the best-maintained metro service in the world — has almost single-handedly transformed the way the city commutes today. When the metro launched, many felt that Dubai is a place where people don’t want to travel in a metro, but that’s been proven to be resoundingly wrong, and now the driverless Dubai Metro is one of the biggest success stories in the world. On any given day, it’s not uncommon to see residents and tourists take the tube to the airport since Dubai Metro goes right up to both Terminals 1 and 3. During Expo 2020, the metro was the most preferred mode of transport for millions who visited the city.

On most routes, there are buses; many of them provide feeder services to the two metro lines. Throw into the mix water taxis and the tram service, and the convenient Nol card, and you have a system that factors in cost, convenience and all-round locational access. It’s no exaggeration to say Dubai is home to the “world’s best mass transit services”.


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