Keeping Metro alive with feeder service

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By Shafaat Ahmed  www.khaleejtimes.com

Acting as the blood veins of Dubai public transport’s central artery, the feeder bus routes have played a significant role in making Dubai Metro a success story that it is today.

Serving more than one million passengers every month, the feeder bus network is spread across the length and breadth of the city, complementing metro riders with free trips.

With the opening of each new station, the feeder network continues to spread wide and far to newer areas getting more people on to the public transport and in turn reducing traffic on roads.

As five new metro stations opened on October 15, six new routes joined the existing 27 that connect around a dozen stations with their neighbouring localities, taking the total number of feeder routes to 33.

Running with an average headway of 15 minutes, 135 regular as well as articulated buses serve on these routes, helping around 35,000 passengers connect with metro daily.

However, the number of feeder buses and routes do not include those that connect stations located in Central Business Districts (CBD) as these stations are served by a number of urban buses plying in each locality.

But, with the launch of six new routes the scope of the network is expected to grow further, attracting more people to public transport.

“The six new routes starting from the new stations connect with a number of densely populated areas, some residential and some industrial. We hope to attract a big number of people from the areas like Al Quoz, Jumeirah, Al Safa, Al Barsha etc.,” said Ramadan Abdullah, Director of Rail Operations at RTA, talking about the potential of the new routes.

The new routes are served by 28 buses that have been added to the existing fleet of 107.

Routes F18 and F20 serve the Business Bay station, Routes F25 and F28 start from the First Gulf Bank station, while routes F32 and 39 head from the Nakheel station. The other two stations opened on October 15 are served by connecting buses plying the locality.

Route F18 connects Business Bay station with Umm Al Sheif via Jumeirah 1 and 2, while F20 goes from the same station to Al Safa 1 and Al Wasl.

Starting from First Gulf Bank station, F25 goes to Al Quoz Industrial Areas 3 and 4, whereas F28 serves Umm Suqaim 2 and 3.

Route F32 connects Nakheel Metro station to Knowledge Village via Dubai Internet City station while F39 goes to Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City Building.

The other 27 routes ply from Rashidiya station, Airport 3, Financial Centre, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Marina, Nakheel Harbour and Tower as well as Ibn Battuta, which has the biggest share of feeder routes. As many as eight feeder routes start from Ibn Battuta, serving areas like Jumeirah Island (F41), Discovery Gardens (F43), Gardens (F44), Dubai Lagoon (F46), DIP (F48), JAFZA (F50), Jebel Ali Industrial City (F53) and Nakheel Harbour and Towers station (F999).

The station with the second biggest share is Rashidiya, which also has park and ride facility with 2700 spaces. Rashidiya station is served by six routes connecting six different areas.

Route F1 goes to Nadd Al Hamar, F2 to Rashidiya, F3 serves Mirdiff West and F4 Mirdiff East, while routes F5 and F10 serve Al Mizhar and Al Warqa’a respectively.

Though among the most popular stations on the red line, Airport 3 and Mall of the Emirates (MoE) share third place with four feeder routes each. Airport 3 connects with areas like Al Twar, Al Garhoud, Al Qusais 1 and Festival City through routes F6, F7, F8 and F9 respectively.

Routes F29, F30, F31 and F33 connect MoE with Al Barsha 2, Arabian Ranches, Al Barsha 1-Meadows East as well as Al Barsha 3.

Apart from these F11 and F13 serve Dubai Financial Centre station and F37A links Dubai Marina station with Dubai Marina as well as Nakheel Harbour and Towers. F11 heads to Satwa via Trade Centre and Emirates towers stations, while F13 connects with Dubai Mall via Dubai Mall station.

Routes F25A, F32A and F39A were cancelled in a recent restructuring, making the network more efficient.

Pay fines, renew licence, registration over phone

Motorists in Dubai will now be able to renew their driving licences, vehicle registration as well as pay fines through a phone call, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced.

The service will be available as early as the beginning of November. Khaleej Times was the first to report when the service was initially launched in June but was limited to RTA staff only. “We have tried and tested the system in house for three months and now we are ready to go live with the service for public. This service will further help people avoid long lanes at our customer care centres,” said the CEO of the RTA’s Licensing Agency, Ahmed Hashem Bahrozyan.

With the launch of call centre services, the RTA now provides four different channels for licensing services catering to people with different background.

“Apart from our regular over-the-counter channel we now have online, trusted agent and call centre services. We are launching different channels keeping mind the needs and abilities of different customers,” explained Bahrozyan. He said “we needed to have a channel that would help those who are not computer literate and the phone call service helps all including this particular category”.

The service could be availed by dialing the RTA number 8009090. The fees and fines could be paid by using the credit or debit cards.

The feeder bus network is spread across the length and breadth of Dubai, and with the opening of each new station, it continues to spread wide and far to newer areas.

shafaat@khaleejtimes.com