Public transport rides forward

DUBAI - Public transport in Dubai has grown remarkably over the first six months of this year compared with the same period last year, an evidence to the economic boom and the presence of modern transport infrastructure that lives up to the level of progress in the emirate.


Mustafa Al Zarooni

Published: Sat 28 Jul 2012, 11:53 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:31 PM

The average daily number of passengers using public transport in Dubai this year was more than one million, of whom 180,000 used Dubai Metro every day. The number of commuters using buses and water taxis also witnessed a rapid growth to 63 million this year.

Essa Abdul Rahman Al Dosari, CEO of Public Transport Agency of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), told Khaleej Times that the feeder public bus service provided by the RTA on Dubai Metro that shuttles passengers between Metro stations and parts of Dubai, helped increase passenger numbers on public buses from six million in the first half of 2011 to eight million this year, a growth of 33 per cent.

“Some 96 per cent of the commuters used city bus routes due to improvement in the public transport network, while in terms of numbers they were expected to increase to more than 300,000 passengers every day by year-end,” Al Dosari said.

Among other services, the number of passengers using commercial transport service rose to 2,457,000 at the end of the first half this year. The number of passengers using inter-city transport service is constantly rising, up by 4.6 per cent to 5,897,458 compared to first six months last year.

Al Dosari said: “The number of passengers using public buses in the emirate is increasing also because of the change in the society’s culture about the use of public transport, a positive development among the people of all walks of life, who realise the importance of adopting the basics of sustainable growth and development.” The bus trips operated on the agency’s routes showed a rise of 13.7 per cent in the first six months this year to 1,651,548 compared to 1,452,343 in same period last year. The targeted commitment to the bus trips has been achieved by more than 98.5 per cent, which enhances the public confidence in public transport services.

The number of kilometres travelled by the buses in the first half of this year stood at 47,472,340 compared with 40,231,454 last year, up by 17.7 per cent. This was achieved by linking the expansion in the transport network to the volume of demand from passengers, hence resulting in the increase in revenue as well.

The agency aims at achieving best results in keeping time schedule accurately on public transport, regularising the time gap between each bus, as well as providing the elements of safety and comfort through advanced technologies such as sophisticated air conditioning and screens that display destinations and instructions to the commuters among other facilities offered to the public. “Adherence by the buses to time schedule for moving between stops showed a major improvement to 78.4 per cent in the first half this year compared with 77.2 per cent last year, in comparison to the international best practice of 83 per cent in Singapore,” he noted.

The agency, he said, had succeeded in achieving 100 per cent time schedule compliance by buses leaving bus stations in the first six months this year, from 99 per cent last year. He said that full compliance was possible by the agency by studying the problem and implementing suitable solutions such as the project of designated lanes for the public buses, whose second phase covered 1.2km of Naif Road and one km of Ittehad Street. This has largely helped punctuality and buses adhered strictly to the trips time table.

“The agency managed to reduce the number of accidents involving public buses to 201 in the first half this year compared to 244 in the first half last year, down by 16.6 per cent,” he said.

The rise in the standard of service in public buses is related to the keenness of the agency and its tireless endeavour to implement the international best practices followed in this field, Al Dosari noted, adding that this will be achieved by launching several strategic initiatives and plans that ensure the required positive change.

The agency applied the international best practice in so far completing 637 air-conditioned-sheltered bus stops, he said, adding that the project is one of the strategic initiatives to offer best services and comfort to bus passengers, especially in summer when temperatures soar.

“The main objective of the project is to encourage public to use public buses,” he said, and described the project as a basic pillar providing major support for expansion, development and integration of public transport sector,” he said.

It has always been the endeavour of the agency to upgrade its work mechanism by suggesting creative solutions and upgrading the quality of services offered to the public, he said, explaining that the agency has provided 12 new sophisticated bus stations and five sheltered bus stations, with hi-tech facilities.

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