The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has yesterday launched the second edition of the Public Transport Day initiative enabling Nol card holders to use the Dubai Metro, public buses and water bus free of charge for one day.
The event witnessed wide participation from government entities, educational institutions and private businesses which urged its employees to use mass transit modes. A number of organizations opted to purchase Nol cards for their employees and the American University in Dubai closed the car park and urged male and female students to use the Dubai Metro, particularly as the Metro station is adjacent to the entry of the university. Overall the initiative was well received by all segments of the community.
In the evening, the RTA held heritage and folklore events (bazaar) in the open yard bordering the Union and Al Ghubaiba stations featuring participation of school students, foreign community clubs, presenters and artists. RTA has set up a stand to display footage and booklets about transport and mobility means provided by the RTA and how to use them in travelling across various parts of Dubai Emirate.
It also explained how to make use of the electronic systems and programs provided by the RTA to public transport commuters including the journey planner (Wojhati); which offers all information needed by public transport users, as well as Sharekni, and Awselni services, iPhone applications enabling users access to all information related to the locations of the metro stations on the Red Line, journeys, metro offence code, and various types of Nol cards.
In a statement marking the event, H.E. Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA said: “In concurrence with the Public Transport Day initiative, the RTA has kick-started Phase II of the Bus & Taxi Dedicated Lanes Project which covered a one kilometre-long stretch of Naif Road from Al Musalla Road to Al Khaleej Road, and one kilometre of Al Ittihad Road in the direction from Sharjah to Dubai from the entry point of Dubai Emirate up to Al Nahda Interchange. The results of the initial phase of the Bus & Taxi Dedicated Lanes Project endorsed the success of the project in slashing the transit time on roads covered by the system (Al Mankhool, Al Khaleej, Khalid bin Al Waleed and Al Ghubaiba) by 50% and the operational cost of buses dropped by Dhs10.4m per month while the annual savings made in the passengers time was in the order of Dhs104m.
“The mass transit system in Dubai witnessed an improvement in the quality and number of means used to deliver services to passengers and the number of public transport users (metro, buses, marine transit modes and taxis) is expected to rise from 250 million in 2009 and 289 million passengers in 2010 to as much as 350 million passengers by the end of this year. The number of daily commuters using public transport means is estimated as 950 thousand. The key projects constructed and operated by the RTA include the Dubai Metro; which lifted in 2010 about 39 million passengers and the number of passengers to be lifted by the metro up to the end of this year is expected to hit 60 million.
“Transport on public buses has witnessed a quantum and quality shift with the number of bus fleet soaring from 500 buses in 2005 to about 1420 buses now. About 900 air-conditioned bus shelters have been constructed all over Dubai emirate, and the RTA has opened several bus depots at Al Rawiyya, Jebel Ali and Al Khawaneej besides renovating Al Awir Station.
The number of bus commuters increased from 96 million in 2006 to 113 million passengers by the end of 2010, whereas the number of bus commuters during the period from January through the end of September this year amounted to 62.573 million passengers. In the marine transit sector, the RTA operated the water bus and the water taxi besides renovating the traditional abras. On 4 March 2011 the Ferry Dubai was launched, the biggest marine mass transit modes of the RTA with a capacity to house 100 persons.
“Through upgrading the public transit means, the RTA managed to raise the share of mass transit means, including taxis, from less than 13% in 2005 to about 19% in 2011 and is seeking to raise the share to as much as 30% by 2030.