Give public transport a chance


    By Sanya Nayeem, Deputy Readers Editor

    Public transport means not having to drive, paying minimum fares and adding more productive minutes to the day.

    So why don’t more people use it? Gulf News readers discuss.

    Arun Menon, a resort manager residing in Ajman, said public transport systems must be efficient and adequate, in order to ensure that people use them regularly.

    He said: “Using buses is definitely more economical and convenient, but passengers need to be assured that they are going to be on schedule.”

    Menon noticed that most people prefer using their own vehicles, even for short distances.

    He said: “When I drive along, I notice that about 95 per cent of the cars on the road have only one occupant.”

    Putting convenience first also means the environment takes a backseat.

    Not informed


    As it stands, many commuters are apathetic toward their role in protecting the environment, and not everyone considers this before deciding between public or private transport.

    Menon said: “Most people don’t realise that by choosing public transport, people reduce their carbon footprint, burn less fuel and also reduce stress levels because they don’t have to drive.”

    Almira Cruz Sison, a Filipina residing in Dubai, is a regular user of public transport and preferred using buses to taxis.

    She said: “The public bus fare is much cheaper and is the obvious option. But many of us are looking forward to Dubai Metro, too. I think more people will give public transport a shot, once it arrives.”

    Safety concerns are also a priority, according to Zaina Khan, a Sharjah resident.

    She said: “I think many females would think twice about using public buses, just because they would feel uncomfortable sharing it with so many people. Maybe it will change with the more spacious Metro.”

    Khan added that she expected interest in public transport to intensify once the system became more streamlined, with the Metro, water taxis and buses working in tandem.