Public transport in Gulf still lags in popularity

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Source:  gulfnews.com

Gulf residents are far from closing the gap with their counterparts in North Africa and the Levant (NAL) when it comes to using public transport.

UAE TRANSPORT RAILIn fact, it would require a major change of image if public transportation is to find universal favour.

At the same time, the UAE’s public transport services were rated top among the Gulf states in the survey, followed by those in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, according to a survey conducted by naseba and YouGov ahead of the Mass Transit Summit held in Doha last week.

The image boost for public transport has to be in sync with a higher frequency of services being made available as well as greater reliability.

Personal requirement

Currently, about two out of every five Gulf residents say they use a public transport system, whereas in North Africa and the Levant the ratio shoots up to three out of every four residents.

Overall, half of the respondents in the three Gulf states surveyed said they used public transport to get to and from work, while two in five did so for their personal requirements.

Not surprisingly, one in three respondents used public transport in North Africa and the Levant.

It is ironic then that the number of Gulf residents using public transportation is actually improving, but falling in North Africa and the Levant. This reflects the fact that Gulf residents are feeling the burden of rising fuel prices as well as the increasing cost of maintaining their vehicles.

Secure system

“In the case of the North African and Levant countries — where systems are probably all the more important due to population and geographic spread — the public transport service is seen not to deliver well on a safe and secure system,” according to the survey.

“Due to pressures that large populations exert on the system, there are also issues related to the lack of reliability and efficiency.”

In terms of time spent in public transport, nearly 50 per cent of respondents spend 30 minutes going to and from work, while those in Lebanon, the UAE and Egypt devote an average of 40 minutes each day.

With some of the Gulf states embarking on massive expansions of their internal rail networks, the ranks of those using public transportation will only swell from the current low base.

Universal favour

According to the naseba-YouGov survey, the main factors holding back more GCC residents from getting on to a public transport service:

  • Poor connectivity to other modes of public transport.
  • Lack of punctuality of services.
  • Frequency of buses is low and often overcrowded.

North Africa and Levant

As to why public transport is unpopular among residents in North Africa and Levant:

  • Taxis are expensive.
  • Most services are unreliable and unsafe
  • Public transport is unclean.
  • Insecure or uncomfortable journeys.

As to why public transport is unpopular among residents in North Africa and Levant:

* Taxis are expensive.

* Most services are unreliable and unsafe

* Public transport is unclean.

* Insecure or uncomfortable journeys.