Dubai to get 32km-long Bus Rapid Transit System by 2019

Dubai to get 32km-long Bus Rapid Transit System by 2019

Dubai - The Roads and Transport Authority made the announcement.


Angel Tesorero

Published: Mon 18 Jun 2018, 10:27 AM

Last updated: Mon 18 Jun 2018, 7:56 PM

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is studying the possibility of introducing dedicated bus lanes across Dubai to reduce commute time, 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 optimizing the efficiency of the bus network and reducing operational cost,” an RTA spokesperson 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 RTA 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 32 kms 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 transit-way in other major urban centers that is designed to improve capacity and reliability relative to a conventional bus route system.

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," Edelamann.

“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.

Bus transit system

The bus rapid transit (BRT) or transitway is a roadway created to improve capacity and reliability relative to a conventional bus system. Buses are given priority at intersections where buses may interact with other traffic.

Currently, TransJakarta is the longest BRT route in the world with approximately 230.9 km length connecting the Indonesian capital city. Here are some countries and cities with existing and planned BRTs:


The first BRT in India was built in Pune and the second BRT system was constructed in Delhi.
Both cities use Tata Marcopolo buses. In Ahmedabad, there are 13 operational lines with 126 BRT stations and few cabins. The Indore BRT currently uses Corona XL buses (AC, automatic doors, Intelligent Bus System - iBus) running on 10 corridors. In Rajkot, one line is operational and two lines are under construction. The Surat BRT has been operational since early 2014.   Planned BRT systems are in Chennai, Jodhpur, Coimbatore, Nagpur, Tiruchirappalli and Hyderabad.


The Cebu Bus Rapid Transit System is a planned mass transit system for Cebu City in central Philippines located within the greater Cebu Metropolitan Area. It is expected to become the first operational bus rapid transit project in the Philippines.  Only one line has been planned in detail so far, but scheme developers note the potential to develop a larger network comprising the adjacent cities Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Talisay.
The first route could be operational by the end of 2019.


The Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metrobus operates in the Rawalpindi-Islamabad metropolitan area in Pakistan and has length of 24 km and 24 stations. The buses run on segregated lanes in Islamabad.  The daily ridership exceeds 150,000 people. Lahore's Metrobus was the first BRT to be built in Pakistan.


With 13 lines running and two more being planned, TransJakarta is currently the longest BRT route in the world with 230.9 km network length. It is used by approximately 450,000 people every day and has more than 1500 buses in operation.


Kunming developed China's first BRT system starting in 1999.  There are also systems operating in Beijing which began operation in 2005 involving three routes over 34.5 km, 60 stations and 4 terminals


Before it even had the name, Bus Rapid Transit first got major backing in the US with the rise of federal funding for urban mass transportation during the 1960s. The first exclusive busway in the United States was the El Monte Busway, an exclusive bus lane between El Monte and Los Angeles, California. It opened in 1973.

Under construction BRTS around the world


The Kabul bus rapid transit is under construction and expected for completion this year.


The Dhaka BuBRT is under construction and expected for completion next year


The Nigerian government is building a BRT system for the Lagos Mega City Area. The first phase of the project has been completed. It is expected to operate on eight routes on special BRT Lanes running through the city but will expand its operation.

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