By Ashfaq Ahmed, Chief Reporter www.gulfnews.com
Dubai: Public transport commuters are furious at the Dubai Roads and Transport’s decision to cancel routes in the city.
Gulf News has learnt that the routes have been cancelled to make commuters use the Dubai Metro.
“The RTA’s policy to force people to use the Metro by cancelling some popular bus routes is not in line with its plans to attract more people to use public transport as it is causing a lot of problems for passengers like me and is not viable for us at all,” said Jamshaid Ahmad, who works in Jebel Ali.
He said employees who were using the public buses now reach their offices late as it takes almost double the time to cover the same distance.
The RTA’s Public Transport Agency which runs public buses, cancelled a number of bus routes in recent months, especially on routes which run parallel to the Metro line.
However, the cancellation of some very popular bus services such as route numbers 91, 91A and X92 has infuriated hundreds of passengers who were regular commuters. These routes were cancelled with effect from May 1.
“I used to take bus 90 from Al Ghubaiba Bus Station in Bur Dubai to Jebel Ali at 5.45am and it was a very convenient and popular service as a lot of people used it to reach their offices in Jebel Ali,” said Ashley, a Filipina secretary.
Since the route’s cancellation, Ashley must make three changes before reaching her work place.
“First, I take the bus to Khalid Bin Waleed Metro Station to take the train to Ibn Battuta Mall and then again have to wait for bus F50 which links the station with Jebel Ali. “The whole journey takes more than one and a half hours whereas earlier it took only 40 minutes,” she said.
Sunil Jacob, who travels from Deira to his office in Jebel Ali, said he was disappointed by the sudden cancellation of 91A from Deira Gold Souq Bus Station to Jebel Ali Bus Station. ”
“It was very convenient for a lot of passengers. Now, I am using a car pool service which is quite expensive for me,” he added.
The cancellation of routes has also negatively impacted the business of shopkeepers and restaurants close to the Bur Dubai and Deira bus stations.
“Our sales have fallen by 40 per cent since the route X92 from Al Ghubaiba Bus Station to Dubai Investment Park was cancelled early this month,” said G. R. Sankaramanim, a shopkeeper near Al Ghubaiba Bus Station.
He said hundreds of people, especially those in the lower income group, used to come from the DIP and Jebel Ali areas to shop and eat. “We are losing a lot of business,” he added.
Avoiding parallel service
A senior official at the RTA’s Public Transport Agency said that some routes which ran parallel to the Metro line have been cancelled to avoid two parallel public transport services. However, he said the RTA would look into the complaints of passengers and would re-open certain routes if there is high demand.
Gulf News found out that routes 91, 91A and X92 were operating away from the Metro stations in Bur Dubai and Deira and its cancellation has created problems for hundreds of commuters.
“It will be fine if these routes are cancelled only after the launching of the Green Line of the Metro because it runs through the Central Business Districts of Bur Dubai and Deira,” said Sankaramani.