Plan your journey


    By Ashfaq Ahmed, Chief Reporter
    Published: July 04, 2009, 23:04

    Are you flirting with the idea of using public transport but confused because you need more information? Gulf News Wipe Out Waste (WoW) campaign offers a solution by explaining Wojhati or online journey planner. It is an integrated system covering buses, the forthcoming Metro, water taxis and walking time. Take a step towards saving the environment, go public.

    Journey planner [Wojhati] is a service to make commuters take the decision before they leave their home - to save their time and money, says Mohammad Al Hashemi.
    Journey planner / Wojhati
    Mass transport is the new buzz in the UAE. Everybody is talking trains, buses and water taxis. Logically, it does seem to be a much better option than being stuck in traffic draining your fuel tank, time and emotions, along with impacting the environment.

    Perhaps what sounds like a great idea on paper might be a bit more complicated when translated to life?

    We take a look at the new concept of an online journey planner launched by the Roads and Transport Authory (RTA) in Dubai that aims to make using mass transport as easy a click of the mouse.

    Commuters can save time and money by planning their journey in advance. The web-based planner called ‘Wojhati’ gives users the exact time, fare and mode of transport – buses, water taxis, Metro – even before they step out of their homes or offices.

    Wojhati which means ‘My Destination’ in Arabic will help commuters plan their journeys. Available online, it can be accessed at bus and Metro stations.

    Currently it does not have live train schedules but Dubai Metro will be included once launched on September 9, this year. The users can also book taxis using the same site.

    “Journey planner is a service to make commuters take the decision before they leave their home – to save their time and money,” Mohammad Al Hashemi, Director of Planning and Business Development at the RTA’s Public Transport Agency, said.

    Commuters can plan their journey by entering their destinations on the site, from and to, expected departure and arrival time. The service offers travel options including different modes of transport, along with fares, the time required to complete the journey and the duration.

    “The aim is to encourage more people to use public transport instead of their cars,” Al Hashemi said. This would not only reduce traffic congestion and help passengers plan their trips but also help protect the environment.

    “Our aim is to increase the current public transport use of 6 per cent to 30 per cent by 2020. We want to attract more people to use mass transport,” he said.

    The RTA has spent around Dh12 million to develop Wojhati. It will also feature an interactive map for their trip to explain the route, bus stops and Metro stations. Commuters will be able to print the map. The journey planner will also tell them how much a trip would cost.

    How to Wojhati?

    1. Log on to the website and click on Wojhati service available on the main page.

    2. Enter your origin and destination in the ‘From’ and ‘To’ fields. You can enter any type of input for quick recognition. You can enter the nearest bus stop, the landmark or the address of your origin or destination.

    3. The user will then get a list of journeys by various public transport modes including trip information such as names of places in transit, indicative points and other geographical information to help the user arrive at the required destination in an accurate, timely and effective manner.

    4. Click the ‘Map’ tab and navigate through the interactive map to find your point of origin or destination.

    Transit time project

    – Instant Passenger Information System (IPIS) is yet another programme, which is linked to the journey planner:

    – The IPIS will enable passengers to know the actual journey schedules at the respective bus stations, bus stops and Metro stations. This enables passengers to know the exact bus transit time, as well as the status of the next bus; making it easy to know the exact arrival time.

    – The project comprises three phases and encompasses installation of about 1,200 display monitors at all Dubai Metro stations and bus stops that are part of the Metro station feeder service, as well as other bus stops across the emirate.

    Controlling the bus schedule

    – Automatic Vehicle Management (AVM) has been introduced to complement Wojhati journey planner:

    – The AVM will provide instant tracking of public buses 24 hours a day, and a link-up with buses to ensure the timely arrival at the destination.

    – The system makes it easy to manage buses through a central control unit, where the attending employee can introduce the changes constantly required to run the service on the scheduled time.

    – All the public buses will be fitted with the AVM system, which will tell the operation control room the exact location of the public transport buses.

    – More than two third of the RTA buses have already been equipped with AVM and are being monitored from the control room. The system will be fully operational by the end of this month.